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Coptic Church attacked in Egypt

2013-02-16 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) More than one year after the Arab Spring, Christians in Egypt continue to suffer persecution. The latest attack happened Friday, when a mob of a few hundred people threw stones and set fire to St. Georgas Coptic Church in Sarsena. The village is located about 100 km southwest of Cairo.

A few parishioners and the pastor were slightly injured, before a local Muslim family helped them to escape the scene.

The attack was led by a local Muslim fringe group. The Salafist group claimed that the church was illegal and wanted it demolished because of its close location to a largely Muslim neighbourhood.

Fr Rafic Greiche, a spokesperson for the Greek Melkite Church in Egypt, said the simple church, made of wood and brick, was nearly completely destroyed.

Fr Greiche said attacks against Christians in Egypt have become all too frequent – about one per week – since the country’s 2012 revolution. He explained the fear Christians experience as they face persecution that is systematic.

Since the beginning of the revolution, he said, “the Christians don’t feel secure at all – especially now. We have a lack of security, and the people are demoralized.”

It is for this reason that many Christians are emigrating from the region, which he explained is problematic: “The people who are emigrating are the people who have money and are the most educated.”

St. Georgas Coptic Church was built about 20 years ago and ministered to about 200 families.

Listen to Laura Ieraci’s full interview with Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesperson for the Greek Melkite Church in Egypt: