There are stories that it hurts to write. With so much bad news permeating our 24-hour news cycle, we become inured to much of the horror and it’s surprising (and sad) what we can become accustomed to. However, even with the hardening of our senses, some stories are so despicable that they simply rise above our walls and flood across our emotions to shock and disgust us.
Such a story is unfolding in Egypt, where a large group of Coptic Christians was murdered earlier today while on a trip to visit a local monastery.
Two busloads full of Coptic Christians, mostly children, were riding in two buses and one truck on their way to visit a monastery when they were pulled over by a group of men dressed as soldiers. The 10 armed men opened fire on the group killing 28, and wounding 25 others. Most of the dead were children, with witnesses saying that only 3 of the children on the trip survived the attack.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but ISIS is quite active in the region and had promised to increase the violence on the local Christian community even as Egypt’s government has tried to increase pressure on the terrorists.
The Islamic State affiliate in Egypt vowed to escalate attacks against Christians, urging Muslims to steer clear of Christian gatherings and western embassies as they are targets of their group’s militants.
Egypt’s Copts, the Middle East’s largest Christian community, have repeatedly complained of suffering discrimination, as well as outright attacks, at hands of the country’s majority Muslim population.
Over the past decades, they have been the immediate targets of Islamic extremists. They rallied behind general-turned-president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in 2013 when he ousted his Islamist predecessor Mohammed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood group. Attacks on Christian homes, businesses and churches subsequently surged, especially in the country’s south.
The Egyptian military has blocked off the entry and exit points into the region with the hope of containing the terrorists and capturing them.
Meanwhile, the world has joined together in condemning the attacks and even the religious leaders of Egypt have spoken out against the heinous crime. However, with most of the leading religious figures refusing to do more than speak condemnation on the attacks, it seems likely that the violence against Egypt’s ever dwindling Christian community will continue.
I despise & condemn the killing in Minya. May the terrorists fail in spreading hate. Strength & solidarity to all suffering & responding.
— British Amb in Egypt (@FCOJohnCasson) May 26, 2017
The video below shows the aftermath of the attack. Please be forewarned – the video is graphic and the scene is heartbreaking, the video is not intended for all viewers.