Egypt bombings simply an act of hatred
The Copts are the largest Christian community in the Middle East, as well as one of the oldest. In Egypt, they are roughly 10 percent of the general population. Their origins lie in Egypt, Libya and Sudan. However, due to persecution, Copts now reside in many countries overseas.
They are one of the many small, ancient ethno-religious groups in the Middle East. On Palm Sunday, two of their churches in Egypt were attacked. ISIS has taken responsibility for the two attacks. According to reports, the attacks claimed the lives of more than 35 people, with more than 70 people injured.
The first bombing took place at St. George Church, in the town of Tanta. The first attack killed at least 25 people. The second attack was in Alexandria’s St. Mark’s Cathedral. The second attack claimed over 10 lives. Among those dead were security personnel and police officers.
On one of the holiest days in Christianity, a deeply persecuted community is targeted in their place of worship. It is insulting and cruel. This act of hatred has rattled not only the Christian community in Egypt, but also the broader persecuted Christian community of the Middle East. It is a stark reminder that their centuries old oppression is still alive and strong.
It is not the first time that ISIS has targeted the Coptic community. There have been waves of attacks against the minority group since the emergence of the radical group.
In response to the attacks, the president of Egypt has declared a three-month state of emergency. He also issued a three-day mourning period for the deceased victims. Several Middle Eastern countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan, have condemned the attacks. Muslim Egyptians have donated blood to injured victims to show solidarity with their Christian countrymen.
Middle eastern Christian communities have survived persecution well into the 21st century. The Coptic community will once again mend itself and repair the damage done to it. It has been doing so for centuries now. This attack elongates the list of crimes against the Coptic community in the Middle East.
ISIS is not just a threat to Yazidis or Christians, but to everyone not brainwashed into their cult.