A group of Muslim supporters in Egypt have joined a project to raise money to build a new Coptic Christian church just north of Cairo.
Coptic Orthodox Bishop Benyamin started a fund to build a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. He asked his parishioners to reach people near and far to donate towards the church. Islamic leaders in the area heard about the fund and asked Muslims to also donate money.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is the first leader to attend Christmas Eve Mass and visit St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo.
“It’s important for the world to see this scene, which reflects true Egyptian unity, and to confirm that we’re all Egyptians, first and foremost,” he claimed at the time. “We truly love each other without discrimination, because this is the Egyptian truth.”
Coptics have faced increasing persecution since 2011, which worsened under Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi. In January 2013, tens of thousands of Coptic Christians left Eqypt once the Muslim Brotherhood gained seats in the election.
“Most of our people are afraid,” explained Father Mina Adel, a priest at the Church of Two Saints in Alexandria. “Not a few are leaving – for America, Canada and Australia. Dozens of families from this church alone are trying to go too.”
Egyptian officials jailed two Coptic boys, aged 9 and 10, for allegedly ruining a Koran in October 2012. A video from April 2013 showed police officers standing and watching an attack on Coptics, who were at their church to mourn other Coptics killed by radical Muslims. Assailants attacked the El-Amir Tadros Coptic Church on August 14, 2013, which left it completely destroyed. In April 2014, a mob of radical Islamists dragged a young Coptic women out of car and proceeded to beat and stab her to death. There are so many more stories about the horrific treatment Coptics endured under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) is targeting the Coptics as well, which means a united front between Christians and Muslims are more important. In February, the terrorist group marched 21 Coptics to the beaches of Libya and beheaded them. The brutal act only brought the two sides closer in Egypt.
“Christians have responded by sorrowfully calling out to God, and Muslims have shown love and care towards them,” said Ramen Atallah of Bible Society Egypt.