Christmas Eve Massacre in Egypt
Dear Friends and Partners,
As you may have seen in the news recently, six Coptic Christians and one Muslim security guard are dead in Egypt after Muslim extremists attacked worshippers who were leaving Christmas Eve services. Nine other Christians are wounded (three in critical condition). This heartless and vicious attack took place in the town of Nag Hammadi, in the vicinity of Luxor in southern Egypt, on January 6, 2010 which is the evening before Coptic Orthodox Christmas.
Despite the fact that numerous congregants had received threats of attacks on the local Christian community at Christmas, police did nothing to increase security for the churches. As a result, in an effort to ensure some measure of security, the services were ended 1 hour early. Even so, as worshippers spilled onto the street in front of Virgin Mary Church and St. John’s Church, three Muslim men drove by shooting at the crowd with an automatic rifle from a moving car along a 400-metre stretch of road. They reportedly continued shooting at Copts and Coptic targets, including a convent, on their way out of town.
After an international outcry, including a condemnation of the attack from Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, three suspects were detained on January 9. However, the main suspect, a local Muslim named Mohammed Ahmed Hussein, was quickly released. He is also suspected of other outstanding crimes but is close to officials of the ruling National Democratic Party and has never been arrested.
Approximately 5000 attended the Coptic funeral the day following the attack, Orthodox Christmas. The mourners were met with teargas by police when they protested against the lack of protection from Muslim extremists and against a cover-up by authorities by stoning cars and chanting slogans. In the aftermath, Muslim extremists have attacked Christian homes and shops burning dozens of homes. Over 100 Christians and 16 Muslims have been arrested but the Muslims have been released while many of the Christians continue to be held and abused by authorities while the situation is developing daily.
Christmas is a celebration of peace, joy, love, forgiveness, and hope. We must ensure that the true meaning and message of Christmas will triumph over violence, hatred, and persecution in Egypt this season.
• for the families of the deceased, that they would find peace, comfort, and hope in the midst of their dreadful loss, and that they would be able to forgive those who have committed these terrible crimes;
• for the Christian community in Egypt, that they would have peace in the midst of turmoil and threats and that they would be able to demonstrate Christ’s love and forgiveness to their enemies;
• for those responsible for these acts, that they would see the evil of their actions and experience forgiveness and true peace that can only come from the Prince of Peace;
• that the Egyptian authorities would take strong and decisive action to implement equal rights and equal protection for all of their citizens; and,
• that the Egyptian people would be able to live together in peace and harmony, sharing the ancient cultural heritage of their people and respecting each other’s religious differences.
The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take action urgently and write (contact details are included below):
• in Canada, to Minister Cannon thanking him for speaking out and urging him to continue to pressure the Egyptian government on this matter and on human rights in general, especially minority rights for the Christians and other minorities in Egypt;
• in the United States, to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, insisting that the United States take a strong and active stand on human rights in Egypt in general and on this incident in particular, and that she pursue this issue with the Egyptian government at the highest levels, putting pressure on them to take swift and effective action to bring the attackers to justice and to ensure the security of Coptic Christians in the area; and,
• to the Egyptian embassy in your country, demanding that the government release the Christians it is holding and bring those responsible for these cowardly attacks to justice, and that it institute adequate protection for Christians and their churches in Nag Hammadi and across the country and that it would ensure respect for the equality and internationally recognized human rights of all Egyptian citizens regardless of their religion.
Please remember to send us a copy of your correspondence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, that the persecuted Christians are dying every day, but they are still smiling. They are in a very deep dark night, but they have the candle of the Lord. The enemy can have a very strong weapon and a very strong army, but we have the Lord Almighty.
“They can kill the dreamer, but they cannot kill the dream” in the Lord’s name.
Be with God and may God be with you.
Rev. Majed El Shafie
President and Founder
One Free World International
El Shafie Ministries
Sources: One Free World International, Compass Direct
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2
Tel.: (613) 992-5516; Fax: (613) 992-6802
His Excellency Shamel Elsayed Nasser
The Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
454 Laurier Avenue East
Ottawa, ON KIN 6R3
Tel.: (613) 234-4931; Fax: (613) 234-4398
Email: email@example.com (or: firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the United States:
Secretary Hillary Clinton
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Tel.: (202) 647-4000 (Main switchboard)
His Excellency Sameh Shoukry
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
3521 International Ct. NW
Washington DC 20008
Tel.: (202) 895-5400; Fax: (202) 244-4319