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15 August 2013

Alliance calls for prayer as churches destroyed in Egypt

Alliance calls for prayer as churches destroyed in Egypt

As the death toll continues to rise and churches continue to be razed, the Evangelical Alliance is rallying Christians in the UK to pray for the situation in Egypt.

The Egyptian government has confirmed that 525 people were killed and thousands injured during violence that erupted yesterday, after security services broke up a sit-in being held by supporters of Mohamed Morsi.

It has been reported that 52 churches have been attacked in the violence. The Coptic Church media reports that there have been attacks by Islamists on the Coptic community, with churches and Christian-owned businesses destroyed.

Alliance member the Bible Society has also said that two of its bookshops in Assuit and Minia have been completely destroyed.

General director of the Egyptian Bible Society Ramez Atallah has called the violence "an attack against the state by a violent minority".

"The attackers demolished the metal doors protecting the bookshops, broke the store windows behind them and set the bookshops on fire," he said. "They did the same to many stores on those streets as well as demolishing many parked cars."

The attacks on the Christian community have increased following accusations by several Islamist sources that Christians were part of a conspiracy to oust President Morsi from power.

Dave Landrum, director of advocacy at the Evangelical Alliance, said: "In the wake of the government-inspired massacres of the Muslim Brotherhood supporters, we should all pray for peace in Egypt - and for protection for the Church.

"Caught between a brutal authoritarian regime and Islamic hardliners, the sizable Christian minority in Egypt is in a precarious situation. As the country continues to descend into violence and chaos, Christians in the UK and around the world have a responsibility to speak up and make sure that our media don't neglect the suffering of the church in Egypt."   

Daniel Sinclair, director of communications at Alliance member Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said: "We express our heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed in yesterday's violence. The removals may have been necessary; however, the manner in which they were executed and the excessive loss of lives will only serve to polarise Egyptian society even further. CSW is also deeply concerned at the unwarranted and continuing targeting of the Coptic community. We urge the government to ensure comprehensive security to all Egyptians, regardless of their religion."

Image by Bible Society of Egypt