Egypt's Muslim leader and more join in condemning Egypt church terror attack

Egypt's Muslim leader and more join in condemning Egypt church terror attack

Egypt's Muslim leader has condemned the church terror attack in which ten died.

Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb, warned that such attacks threatened national unity in Egypt. He called on all Muslims to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ "with their Christian brothers".

He spoke out after two terrorists opened fire, killing ten including three police officers, on the church of Mar Mina in Helwan district in south Cairo.

"I call on all Egyptians to confront this malignant plot against our nation and to emphasize on such spirit through the participation of Muslims in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ with their Christian brothers," he said, according to Egypt Today.

The church had been under intense police guard, like all churches throughout the country, due to the many lethal attacks over recent years at Christmas.

It was due to the exceptional security measures that more lives were not lost and the entire church blown up.

One source told Christian Today that although one of the attackers was a suicide bomber and wearing an explosive belt, he was not able to use it due to the hard security measures that was around the church, and the quick reaction of the security forces who were protecting the church from all sides and closing all the streets around every church in Egypt.

Archbishop Angaelos of the Coptic Church in the UK said: "This should be a time at which individuals and families are preparing to receive a New Year, and in the case of Coptic Orthodox Christians, to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity (Christmas) on the 7 January according to the ancient Julian Calendar. I am saddened however that we find ourselves once again mourning the loss of the precious lives of innocent children, women and men who did no more than attend their local parish to pray as millions do around the world.

"Yesterday's attack on the Church of St Mina in Helwan, on the outskirts of Cairo, indeed directly targeted the indigenous Christian community of Egypt, but alongside the Christians who lost their lives, there was at least one Muslim member of the security services who paid the ultimate price to protect his fellow Egyptian citizens exercising their right to worship.

"Even at this painful time, the Christians of Egypt, who have mourned over 120 members in the past year as a result of targeted attacks on Churches and individuals, continue to do what they have done for centuries; they are resilient, forgiving, hopeful, and praying for Egypt, and its leadership, during this trying time of its contemporary history.

"I hope that the extraordinary reaction of this faithful community that I am honoured to call my own might transform the hearts of those who continue to seek its destruction."

Earlier this month, Egypt's Religious Endowments Minister Mokhtar Gomaa stated that the protection of churches is "a legitimate and national duty" that and those who died in the defense of the church are martyrs.

Egypt's President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi also offered condolences to the Egyptian families of those killed, ordering the state institutions to take all necessary actions regarding the families of the "martyrs" and the injured. He said it had increased the determination of Egypt's government and security forces to cleanse to the country of terrorism and extremism.

Father Hani Bakhoum, Patriarchal Vicar of the Coptic Catholic Church, condemned the incident, stating: This terrorist attack will not dampen our festive spirit."

In a statement put out through its own news agency, Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sun, 12/31/2017 - 09:35
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