Egypt's Christians mourn after rioters burn churches, homes, businesses

After decades of relative stability, the land of the Pharaohs has steadily descended into violence. The militant Muslim Brotherhood is calling for armed confrontation with the Egyptian military and has targeted Egypt’s 7 million Coptic Christians.

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Caught in the crossfire were Egypt’s Christians. Egypt’s Coptic church traces its roots back 2,000 years to the Day of Pentecost when Egyptian pilgrims to Jerusalem were among the Apostle Peter’s first converts as he preached from Solomon’s Porch. Egyptian Copts constitute the largest Christian community in the Middle East. Most adhere to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria while around 800,000 are divided between the Coptic Catholic Church and various Protestant churches.

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An Egyptian Coptic church building burns

As violence erupted nationwide, coordinated attacks were launched against churches, schools, monasteries, businesses and individual Christians – including the daylight gunning down of a 10-year-old girl carrying a Bible.“It was a day of many tears, pain and agony,” wrote the unnamed Christian leader to Open Doors, which withheld his identity out of fear for his safety. “According to the official report of the Egyptian Ministry of Health, there were 235 deaths and 2,001 injuries.”

“Islamists burned down a Christian school, paraded three nuns on the streets like ‘prisoners of war,’ and sexually abused two other female staff even as at least 58 attacks on Christians and their property were reported across Egypt over the last four days. At least two Christians

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have died in the attacks,” reported Anugrah Kumar for the Christian Post newspaper.

“The murder last week of the 10-year-old girl, Jessica Boulos, as she was walking back home from her Bible study class at one of Cairo’s evangelical churches by a fanatic Muslim gunman is unbearable,” the unnamed church leader told Open Doors, “and continues to throw its shadows of pain on her broken family and the entire Christian community of Egypt. “In all of this mess, the loss of church buildings great, but not to be compared with the loss of the many souls, the pains of the wounds and the fear and anxiety that have filled the hearts of all that can yet happen in Egypt today and the days to come. Buildings can eventually be re-built, but when lost, souls can never be restored.”

Coptic Christians plead for help.

Coptic Christians plead for help.

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