In the days since Egyptian security forces cleared the demonstrations of pro-Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood supporters, Islamists have attacked, looted, or torched 63 Christian churches.
According to the Associated Press, the Islamists have used their attacks on dozens of Coptic Christian churches, as well as homes and businesses owned by Christians, to generate fear and to warn Christians outside Cairo to refrain from political activism.
The AP reports that Islamists also torched a Franciscan school, forced three nuns to parade around the streets as if they were “prisoners of war,” and sexually abused two women who worked at the school.
After the Friday prayers, the MB are calling on Muslims to pour from all the mosques of Cairo towards Ramses square. After the recent clashes, the army has declared a state of emergency, imposing a curfew and a mandate to shoot if government buildings are affected.
Muslim Brotherhood supporters have claimed that Christians played a significant role in the rallies that ultimately led to Morsi’s ouster by the army.
According to AP, despite the violence they have endured, Egypt’s Coptic Christians are standing by the army and, in some places, have aligned themselves with moderate Muslims.
Fox News reported that the Egyptian defense minister has ordered the reconstruction of all churches that suffered damage at the hands of the Islamists.
“The Egyptian defense minister ordered the engineering department of the armed forces to swiftly repair all the affected churches, in recognition of the historical and national role played by our Coptic brothers,” read a statement aired on Egyptian television.
On Twitter, Bishop Mousa reportedly wrote, “We thank Col. Gen. Sisi [defense minister] for commissioning the brave Egyptian armed forces to rebuild the places of worship damaged during the recent events.”
The Catholic World Report indicated Friday that Coptic Catholic Bishop Kyrillos William of Assiut told Vatican Radio that the government action and the reaction of the Muslim Brotherhood were not unexpected “because Egypt won’t accept an Islamic state.” The bishop added that the majority of Egyptians “want to separate religion from the state.”
Regarding the violence, the Right Scoop reported that Walid Phares, an expert on the Middle East and terrorism, said that the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy has moved “from demonstrations to an ‘urban jihadi insurgency’ in order to try and destabilize Cairo.”
According to the Right Scoop:
But he [Phares] says the bigger story is that the Brotherhood is trying to create pockets across Egypt and we see that through the 62 churches that have been destroyed and police states that have also been attacked.
Phares says the strategy of the Egyptian Army is to ‘cut off the head’ of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo and then to move out into the provinces. He also believes that we should help the Egyptian Army, specifically in the Sinai because they are fighting Al Qaeda there and if Al Qaeda are allow to control Northern Sinai then they could create problems for both Egypt and Israel.
Phares believes the Muslim Brotherhood is giving a message to Washington from other nations in the region about choosing sides in the Egyptian conflict.