A letter from… Egypt
Bishop Mouneer Anis reports on anti-Christian attacks in Egypt
As I write these words, our St Saviour’s Anglican Church in Suez is under heavy attack from those who support former President Morsi. They are throwing stones and molotov cocktails at the church and have destroyed the car of Revd Ehab Ayoub, the priest-in-charge of St Saviour’s Church. I am aware that there are attacks on other Orthodox churches in Menyia and Suhag in Upper Egypt, as well as a Catholic church in Suez. Some police stations are also under attack in different parts of Egypt. Please pray and ask others to pray for this inflammable situation in Egypt.
Early this morning, 14 August, the police, supported by the army, encouraged the thousands of protestors in two different locations in Cairo, to leave safely and go home. The protestors had been there for six weeks, protesting the removal of President Morsi by the army, blocking the roads. The people in these neighbourhoods have been suffering a great deal — not only these people, but those commuting through, especially those who are going to the airport. The police created very safe passages for everyone to leave. Many protestors left and went home; however, others refused to leave and started to attack the police. The police and army were very professional in responding to the attacks, and they used tear gas only when it was necessary. The police then discovered caches of weapons and ammunition in these sites. One area near Giza is now calm, but there is still some resistance at other sites. There are even some snipers trying to attack the police and the army. There are some rumours that Muslim Brotherhood leaders asked the protestors in different cities to attack police stations, take weapons, and attack shops and churches.
A few hours later, violent demonstrations from Morsi supporters broke out in different cities and towns throughout Egypt. The police and army are trying to maintain safety for all people and to disperse the protestors peacefully. However, the supporters of former President Morsi have threatened that if they are dispersed from the current sites, they will move to other sites and continue to protest. They also threatened to use violence. There have been a number of fatalities and casualties from among the police as well as the protestors, but it seems that the numbers are not as high as expected for such violence. The supporters of former President Morsi claim that there are very high numbers of casualties, but the real numbers will be known later on.
Please pray that the situation will calm down, for wisdom and tact for the police and the army, for the safety of all churches and congregations, and that all in Egypt would be safe.
May the Lord bless you.
Bishop Mouneer Anis is Bishop of Egypt and Primate of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and The Middle East
This article was published in the October 2013 edition of Reform.