Christians attacked during Christmas season celebrations

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Christians attacked during Christmas season celebrations
(Warning: graphic images, discretion advised)
Dear Friends and Partners,
As we in the West rejoice and celebrate the birth of Christ in peace and plenty, attending Christmas services and feasting with friends and family, our brothers and sisters around the world are under attack as they try to share in the celebrations.

On New Year’s Eve at least 21 were killed and more than 70 injured in Egypt when a bomb exploded outside the al-Qiddissin Coptic church in Alexandria where approximately 1,000 people had gathered to celebrate a New Year’s mass. The mass was coming to a close and worshippers were beginning to leave the church when the bomb, which appears to have been loaded with shrapnel for maximum carnage, exploded. Security was entirely inadequate and our sources indicate that in the aftermath of the attack there have been further attacks against victims in hospital and that authorities have attacked Coptic demonstrators.

Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak has condemned the attack, blaming foreign elements and characterizing it as an attack against all of Egypt. While his condemnation is welcome, his statement is a transparent attempt to avoid the responsibility of Egyptian authorities. We must not forget that such attacks are not uncommon in Egypt where Muslim extremism has deep roots and is gaining in strength. Only last January a similar, though less sophisticated, attack took place against worshippers leaving a Coptic Christmas Eve celebration. Moreover, it has been well-known that Al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups have made threats against Egyptian churches in the weeks leading up to the Christmas season. With this history of attacks and open threats, the origin of the attackers is of little importance and what matters is the dismal failure of Egyptian authorities to prevent the attack.
International leaders including the pope, U.S. President Barack Obama, and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon have condemned the attack. President Obama called it a “barbaric and heinous act” that was “clearly targeting Christian worshippers”. Minister Cannon called it a “vicious attack” and called on “Egyptians of all faiths to work together to end sectarian violence”. While we appreciate Minister Cannon’s concern, treating the situation as “sectarian violence” reveals a serious lack of understanding of the issues which can only prevent any meaningful resolution. Clearly this despicable event is another example of an intentional campaign by Muslim extremists and their sympathizers to attack Christians and other minority communities. Unless the Canadian and other governments recognize these attacks for what they are and respond appropriately, the extremists will be able to freely continue their murderous attacks on defenseless minorities while the Egyptian government turns a blind eye and makes hollow statements for appearances.
Aside from Egypt, violence has also overtaken Christians in Nigeria this Christmas season where dozens were killed in several attacks by Muslim extremists on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. These attacks included the Christmas Eve killing of a Baptist pastor in his home and some members of the congregation who were in an adjoining church that was set on fire, as well as several bomb attacks, including one in the nation’s capital on New Year’s Eve.
In the midst of these attacks, Coptic Orthodox Christians will be celebrating Christmas on January 7. There is great concern that more attacks will take place in Egypt in the coming week. We must not sit back, comfortably enjoying the warm afterglow of our own Christmas celebrations while leaving our brothers and sisters to fend for themselves. We must stand up for our Egyptian brothers and sisters and for their right to live and worship freely in peace and security. In the midst of this Christmas season we have no excuse.

 

Please pray:

• For courage and comfort for those who have lost loved ones and for the injured and their families in both Egypt and Nigeria; pray that they would be strengthened in their faith and reliance on God through these events; • that the attackers would appreciate the wrongfulness of their acts and be compelled to seek truth and forgiveness; pray that they would experience the love and forgiveness of God and in turn apply their energies toward spreading peace;

• For the Egyptian and Nigerian authorities, that they would take these threats seriously and truly appreciate how important it is for the well-being of their respective countries as a whole that they respect and protect the lives, security, and human rights of all their citizens regardless of their religion;

• For the Christian communities in Egypt and Nigeria, that in the midst of these difficult circumstances they would be filled with the love of Christ toward their Muslim neighbours and co-workers so that they would know the meaning of true love, forgiveness, and justice and be able to experience true peace through the Prince of Peace.
 

ACTION: The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take action urgently and write (contact details are included below):

 

• In Canada, to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister Cannon, thanking them for Minister Cannon’s statement on the attack in Egypt and urging them to pressure the Egyptian government into protecting its Christian citizens; explain that this is not a matter of sectarian violence but another episode in a history of targeted attacks against Egypt’s Christian minority and it must be dealt with as such; encourage them also to take note of and address the attacks in Nigeria; • in the United States, to President Obama and the Secretary of State thanking them for President Obama’s statement on the events in Egypt and Nigeria and encouraging them to follow through and to pressure authorities in those countries to respect and protect the rights and security of their Christian citizens

• To the Egyptian and Nigerian ambassadors in your country, demanding that they bring all those responsible for these attacks to justice and that they protect their Christian citizens from further attacks by respecting and promoting international human rights standards; for the Egyptian government in particular, demand that the authorities provide sufficient resources to protect the Coptic community and prevent further attacks during the time of Coptic Christmas, on January 6 and 7.

Please remember to send us a copy of your correspondence at: info@onefreeworldinternational.org

Remember that the persecuted Christians are dying every day, but they are still smiling.  They are in a very deep dark night, but they have the candle of the Lord. The enemy can have a very strong weapon and a very strong army, but we have the Lord Almighty.

"They can kill the dreamer, but they cannot kill the dream" in the Lord’s name.

Be with God and may God be with you.
Rev. Majed El Shafie President and Founder One Free World International El Shafie Ministries
 

CONTACT:

In Canada: The Right Honourable Stephen Harper Office of the Prime Minister 80 Wellington Street Ottawa, ON   K1A 0A2 Fax: (613) 941-6900 Email: pm@pm.gc.ca

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon Minister for Foreign Affairs 125 Sussex Drive Ottawa, ON   K1A 0G2 Tel.: (613) 992-5516; Fax: (613) 992-6802 Email: Cannon.L@parl.gc.ca Egyptian Embassy: His Excellency Wael Aboul-Magd Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt 454 Laurier Avenue East Ottawa, ON   K1N 6R3 Tel.: (613) 234-4931; Fax: (613) 234-4398 Email: egyptemb@sympatico.ca Nigerian High Commission: His Excellency Iyorwuese Hagher High Commissioner for the Federal Republic of Nigeria 295 Metcalfe Street Ottawa, ON   K2P 1R9 Tel.: (613) 236-0521/3; Fax: (613) 236-0529 Email: chancery@nigeriahcottawa.com

In the United States: President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Tel.: 202-456-1111; Fax: (202) 456-2461 Webform: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Secretary Hillary Clinton U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC  20520 Tel.: (202) 647-4000 (Main switchboard) Webform: http://contact-us.state.gov/cgi-bin/state.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php?p_sid=F5OZZa6i&p_lva=&p_sp=&p_li

Embassy of Egypt: His Excellency Sameh Shoukry Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt 3521 International Ct. NW Washington DC  20008 Tel.: (202) 895-5400; Fax: (202) 244-4319 Email: embassy@egyptembassy.net

Embassy of Nigeria: His Excellency Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 3519 International Court, NW Washington, DC  20008 Tel: (202) 986-8400; Fax: (202) 362-6541 or (202) 775-1385 Webform: http://www.nigeriaembassyusa.org/contact.shtml