Date: May 6, 2022
Four Violent Incidents Occur Against Coptic Christians in One Month
Egypt (International Christian Concern) – In a one-month time span, at least four violent incidents and two kidnappings occurred against Egypt’s Christian population. The recent escalation began just days before the start of the Easter season and have continued through Islam’s holy month of Ramadan. This represents a significant increase of persecution incidents toward Christians compared to previous months.
“This has been a difficult Easter season for Egypt’s Christian population, and we are saddened by the violence against them,” said ICC President Jeff King. “Though violence during these major holidays is unfortunately commonplace, ICC continues to monitor Egypt closely to determine if the country is moving toward long-lasting violence against the Coptic minority.”
On April 7, Coptic Orthodox priest Arsanious Wadid was murdered after being stabbed several times by a 60-year-old assailant who was later deemed mentally unstable and a previous member of radical groups in Egypt. As stated by ICC, “It is common for the attacker to be accused of having a mental illness rather than addressing underlying extremist motivations. This trend is not only a disservice to authentic religious freedom, but also increases the marginalization of those with genuine disabilities.”
Just two days prior, a Coptic woman and her daughter were kidnapped in Beni Suef Province. The pair were reunited with their family after 11 days. A social media post went viral several days after the kidnapping on April 13 when the woman, Mariam Waheeb, announced her conversion to Islam. It was clear to many, including her husband Joseph Saad, that the video was done under pressure. Another Coptic, 15-year-old Simone Adel, was kidnapped April 11 by a Muslim schoolmate’s brother. In both instances, the police did little until there were more public outcries for action.
On April 21, a Muslim man slapped 30-year-old Coptic Christian Nevin Sobhi twice for not wearing a head covering when she walked into a drugstore. Sobhi’s young son witnessed the verbal abuse and physical assault against his mother. Sobhi later faced what she deemed a “third slap” at the police station when they failed to rightly file a report.
Four days later, 25-year-old Michael Magdy Said from Assiut Center was shot in the chest, reportedly by a militant and former criminal in his village. An eyewitness reported that the assailant falsified an unreasonable dispute with Said and shot him in the chest. Said remains in intensive care; the assailant is in custody.
In late April, four unidentified assailants shot Rani Raafat, a young Coptic man of Dabaa, Matrouh Governorate, 22 times while at work. Raafat had no known enemies, and his father suspected religious motivation.
Reports of Christians being refused food at restaurants before iftar, the breaking of the daily fast during the Islamic holiday of Ramadan, have also surfaced.
In April, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended Egypt’s placement on the U.S. Department of State’s Special Watchlist for religious freedom.
HOW TO PRAY: Pray for this surge in violence to cease. Pray for peace and comfort for those who lost loved ones. Pray for increased security measures for Christians in Egypt.