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.


Christianity Today Middle East Published Articles

A Tale of Two Weddings

Burned Church Wedding

From my new article at Christianity Today, published October 23, 2013, on why protesting a drive-by shooting is complicated for Egypt’s Christians:

The wedding party stood outside the church, eagerly awaiting the ceremonious arrival of the bride. Instead, drive-by shooters killed four, including two children and the groom’s mother, and injured 18.

Beyond its poignancy, the attack in Cairo’s industrial neighborhood of Warraq was significant for being one of the first to target Egypt’s Christians specifically, versus the now-common attacks on their church buildings.

“Since the revolution, this is the first instance Coptic people were targeted randomly in a church, with weapons,” said Mina Magdy, general coordinator for the Maspero Youth Union, a mostly Coptic revolutionary group formed in response to church burnings in 2011 after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.

Please click here to read the rest of the article at Christianity Today, which describes the pulling back of protests so as not to be associated with anti-‘coup’ sentiment. There is also a video of the second wedding, held in a burnt-out church in Upper Egypt, which you can watch here (4:14 mark).