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Egyptian Prayer Alert

Egyptian Prayer Alert From the WEA (World Evangelical Alliance): One of the consequences of the recent resurgence of Islamic zeal and Islamic political activism in Egypt has been the corresponding escalation in Islamic intolerance and violence against the Church.

On Friday 14 April - Good Friday for Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians - 17 worshippers in three churches in Alexandria were stabbed in a co-ordinated Islamic militant assault. Police initially reported the arrest of three men in four near- simultaneous church attacks. One culprit was said to have attacked two churches, one attacked a third church, and the other was arrested during a foiled attempt on a fourth church. All were reportedly armed with two knives. An employee of the Mar Girgis church said, 'The attacker stormed the church shouting "There is no God but Allah" and "Allah is the greatest" before stabbing the worshippers.' Nushi Atta Girgis (78), stabbed at the Quidissin church, died in hospital.

However, the police later changed their report to say that only one 'mentally unstable' man had been arrested, and he was the sole assailant.

(They have not explained how a sole assailant could attack four churches virtually simultaneously, especially as one is about 45 minutes away from the others.) The Interior Ministry claimed the 'mentally unstable' attacker was simply taking revenge for the Danish cartoons, i.e., this is not really a domestic Egyptian issue - just a mad man responding to Western provocation.

However most Copts believe the church attacks were carried out by Islamic militants as part of a domestic Islamist plot against Egypt 's Christians.

On Saturday 15 April some 3000 Christians attended the funeral procession for Nushi Atta Girgis. The mourners then protested outside the church, calling for more security and government action. Hostile Muslims retaliated and stormed the police guard.

Violent clashes erupted and a Muslim man was killed. Fifty Muslims and five Copts were arrested. Sectarian clashes continued through Sunday 16 April and many shops and cars were torched. Police eventually used tear gas to disperse the emotional Muslim and Christian crowds numbering in the thousands.

Also on Sunday 16 April, a knife-bearing Islamic militant tried to enter a church in Cairo where Coptic Christians were celebrating Palm Sunday. He was arrested at the door and detained for four days for questioning on suspicion of intending to commit a crime. While international media reported, 'A Muslim man wielding a knife in a Cairo church has been detained by police, just days after a man was killed in a similar incident' (Aljazeera, 17 April), official Egyptian news media reported that the arrested man, whose religion was not named, was merely a potential thief, even unarmed. Many analysts believe the government's refusal to confront the problem of escalating Islamic intolerance is fueling a potential crisis.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR GOD TO:

* move President Hosni Mubarak and the Egyptian government to

tackle Islamic intolerance so that religious liberty issues may

be openly debated, providing a theatre for change and for the

gospel of Jesus Christ.

* heal the wounds and comfort the pain of the individuals and

congregations terrorised in the 14 April knife attacks, calming

their fear, renewing their faith, and empowering their witness

with restored confidence.

* do a mysterious and mighty work in Egypt , making himself known by

turning hearts so they reject oppression and seek and find

salvation in him. (This is promised in Isaiah 19:16-25,

culminating in Assyria , Israel and Egypt being reconciled as

worshippers together of the Lord, a promise with both local and

global applications. 'In that day,' the Lord will say, 'Blessed

be Egypt my people...')

~~~

SUMMARY TO USE IN BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE:

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ISLAMIC MILITANTS ATTACK CHURCHES IN EGYPT

On Friday 14 April, 17 worshippers were wounded when three churches in Egypt 's coastal city of Alexandria were attacked by knife- wielding Islamic militants. One assailant attacked two churches, another attacked a third church, and police foiled a fourth attack.

One believer, Nushi Atta Girgis (78), later died in hospital. The next day, mourners at his funeral protested outside the church for more government action and security. Muslims retaliated, stormed the police guard, and clashes ensued. A Muslim man was killed. On Sunday 16 April, police had to use tear gas to disperse thousands of emotional Muslims and Christians engaged in sectarian clashes.


In Cairo on Sunday 16 April, a knife-bearing Muslim was arrested trying to enter a church during the Coptic Palm Sunday service. The government is denying sectarian tensions and trying to cover them up. Please pray for the Church in Egypt .

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR GOD TO:

* move President Hosni Mubarak and the Egyptian government to

tackle Islamic intolerance so that religious liberty issues may

be openly debated, providing a theatre for change and for the

gospel of Jesus Christ.

* heal the wounds and comfort the pain of the individuals and

congregations terrorised in the 14 April knife attacks, calming

their fear, renewing their faith, and empowering their witness

with restored confidence.

* do a mysterious and mighty work in Egypt , making himself known by

turning hearts so they reject oppression and seek and find

salvation in him. (This is promised in Isaiah 19:16-25,

culminating in Assyria , Israel and Egypt being reconciled as

worshippers together of the Lord, a promise with both local and

global applications. 'In that day,' the Lord will say, 'Blessed

be Egypt my people...')

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