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Bombing at Egyptian Church Kills 21, Sparks Protests
BY STAFF ©2010 Baptist Press
hristian protestors threw bottles and rocks at riot police in Alexandria, Egypt, January 3, two days after a bombing killed 21 people leaving a New Year's Eve service at the Church of the Two Saints, a Coptic Orthodox congregation.
Subsequent attacks on Muslims and a nearby mosque also revealed the deep frustration of Egyptian Christians who complain the government allows attacks to be carried out against the country's historic Christian community by Muslims who want Egypt to be completely Muslim.
"You want me to leave Egypt. I will not leave Egypt. Egypt is Coptic and will remain Coptic," one woman in her mid-40s, wrapped in a white sheet stained with blood from the victims, shouted January 1 in front of the church, according to the Associated Press. "I have seen discrimination all my life. In college, at work. I am not going to take it any longer. Enough."
A two-year study documented 52 anti-Christian incidents between 2008 and 2010 in which none of the perpetrators were punished, human rights activist Hossam Bahgat told the AP.
Rather than investigating and arresting those responsible for the attacks, police arrest random people and then force both sides to accept "reconciliation," Bahgat told the AP. "It's an invitation for these events to recur and the victims are left feeling victimized twice, first by those who did it and second by the government."
The U.S. State Department's 2010 International Religious Freedom Report 2010, released November 17, echoed Bahgat's charges. While Egypt's constitution guarantees freedom of religious belief and practice, the government in fact restricts religious freedom in favor of Islam, which is the official state religion, and fails to prosecute perpetrators of violence against Coptic Christians, the report said. To read the rest of the story, click here