Churches in Egypt targeted and burned

CAIRO — Numerous churches across Egypt were attacked August 14 by mobs angered at the military's deadly crackdown on protesters in Cairo.

The violence in Minya, which is south of Cairo on the western bank of the Nile River, has left 41 people dead, including six policemen.

At noon Wednesday, Mounir Sobhy Yacoub Malaty, pastor of First Baptist Church in Cairo and a leader of Egypt's Baptist convention, posted on his personal Facebook page, "Pray: Baptist Church in Beni Mazar, Minya, has been attacked."

He quickly followed with an update, "Beni Mazar Baptist Church on fire."

Later that day, Malaty posted a brief video showing the ransacked and burning remains of the church.

One Christian leader, whose name has been withheld due to security concerns, pled for Christians to pray for Egypt stating that these are the hardest days they have ever witnessed.

"Yesterday, resulted in a sleepless night not only for me, but also for millions of Christian and Muslim Egyptians who love this country and genuinely seek its good and welfare. It was a day of many tears, pain and agony for what Egypt witnessed for the violence that resulted," he wrote in an analysis to Open Doors.

He stated that churches, Christian buildings, schools, Bible bookshops, shops and houses of Christians have been systematically targeted, looted, attacked or burnt down.

"In all of this mess, the loss of church buildings is 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," he continued. "Buildings can eventually be re-built, but when lost, souls can never be restored."

Wednesday's violence, leaving more than 500 dead and 3,500 injured nationwide, began when government troops moved to clear thousands of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi who were occupying two sit-in camps in Cairo.

Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, was removed from power on July 3 after serving only one year in office.

Clashes later spread throughout Cairo, then across the country. The government has declared a month-long state of emergency, imposing a nighttime curfew in nearly half the country's provinces.


— BP news and Christian Examiner staff