Friday Prayers for Egypt: Wedding Terror

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Of the troubles that Copts face, this may portend the worst. A wedding celebration in a working-class Cairo neighborhood church suffered a drive-by shooting. Five died, including two children and the mother of the groom.

Church buildings have been attacked. Land disputes may be disguised criminal aggression. But rarely has anyone shot to kill.

God, may this attack be only an exception. Against Copts, and against anyone, do not let political frustrations boil over into random acts of pointed violence.

Frustrations are many. Islamist groups condemned the attack, blaming security instead for failing to secure the church. But as frustrated as these groups are with the security clampdown against them, their opponents are frustrated by Islamist obstinacy in the face of widespread rejection.

And within this mix is continued anti-Coptic sentiment.

God, purify the political scene. For the sake of so much more, but including this, bring Egypt a new prosperity that restores both hope and civil participation. Sort out the right and the wrong between Islamists and the state, but keep the people from descending into hatred.

For surely it is hatred which drove someone to this crime.

Help the Copts to forgive, God. Transform their grief and anger into something redemptive. Bind together all in the aggrieved neighborhood, and produce a subsequent unity that will amaze the nation.

But also bring justice. Do it with transparency so that all my see the sin and recoil from it. Otherwise accusations may simply multiply the political frustrations contributing to this downward spiral.

For if such acts continue the nation may halt. Keep terror far from the people. Keep the peace in Egypt, God.

Keep every bride from looking over her shoulder.