The president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, fulfilled a promise to Coptic Christians by constructing a cathedral in Egypt’s new administrative city. Jacob Wirtschafter and Mina Nader report that “The biggest church in the Middle East opens Saturday [January 6, 2018], a landmark date in the 2,000-year-old history of Egypt’s Coptic Christians.”
Hamza Hendawi notes, “The new cathedral can house up to 9,000 worshippers and is touted as the largest in the Middle East.” And worshippers gathered there for the nativity liturgy on January 7th, 2018. Even the president, Mr. el-Sisi attended to give a speech:
The jubilant spirit congeniality contrasts sharply with the threat of ISIL against Coptic Christians.
A New Target for Terror?
ISIS called coptic Christians their “favorite prey” last year, killing more than a 100 coptic Christians. Like wolves, ISIL terrorists hunt coptic Christians. On December 22, 2017—just weeks ago—, “a mob wrecked a building that had been used as a place of worship by Christians in the village of Atfieh, about 80 kilometres south of Cairo” according to Jacob Wirtschafter.
A large cathedral in Egypt’s new (and still unnamed) administrative capital sounds like an enticing target.
An yet, Egypt’s president personally donated money towards the church’s construction. So, the government of Egypt has a vested interest in keeping it and the almost 10 million coptic Christians in Egypt safe.
And so far, no attack has come. On January 7th, the church celebrated the nativity without harrasment. So, for now, the church’s safety is intact.
What Can We Do?
Most of us can do nothing except pray because most of us are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of coptic Christianity and life in Egypt. But we can pray for their safety. We can show our support for them as a minority in a hostile nation.
And for every Copt that ISIL slays, we can pray that justice will roll down. And salvation will come to all.