Christians in Egypt have become the target of Islamists since the removal of former President Mohammed Morsi.
Over 60 churches have been attacked since 14 August, when the Egyptian army cracked down on Muslim Brotherhood supporters who were protesting Morsi’s removal. Morsi’s Muslim supporters blame Coptic Christians for his overthrow.
Most of the churches were in the Egyptian cities of Minya and Assiut. Several convents, monasteries and schools, and dozens of homes and businesses have been looted, burned or destroyed. The situation was exacerbated by the decision of Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II to support the army.
In Cairo, the cross over a Franciscan school was torn down and replaced by an Al Qaeda flag; the school remains were burnt; and three of the Franciscan sisters were marched through the streets, while a mob hurled abuse at them.
The Bible Society reported that two of its bookshops in Egypt were completely destroyed on 15 August. The shops were in Assiut and Minia, the largest cities in southern Egypt.
Egyptian Bible Society general director Ramez Atallah said, ‘The attackers demolished the metal doors protecting the bookshops, broke the store windows behind them and set the bookshops on fire. They did the same to many stores on those streets, as well as demolishing many parked cars’.
He said, ‘Fortunately we were closed, fearing such an attack, so none of our staff were injured. Similar incidents are taking place across the nation’.
The Bible Society in Egypt has been operating for 129 years and, it says, this is the first time it has been the victim of attacks like those carried out on the two bookshops.