The oppression of believers in Egypt reached new heights of devastation on May 27, 2017, when gunmen seized a bus of Coptic Christians on their way to pray at a monastery. The gunmen demanded that the believers renounce their Christian faith. When the Christians refused, they shot them, killing 29 passengers, including young children, and injuring a further 25 people.
The brutal violence is the latest in a series of attacks on Coptic Christians since December, 2016. This includes three suicide bombings of church services that killed a total of 75 people. Responsibility for these attacks was claimed by the so-called Islamic State (IS).
A SAT-7 film crew was on-scene interviewing eyewitnesses and family members of the fallen. They were reeling from the raw emotions of shock, bewilderment, pain, and desperation. Several stood firm in their faith sending messages of peace. In their moment of grief, our broadcast on the current affairs program Bridges made their voices heard to a global body of believers.
- Eyewitness Bishoy Ibrahim, Priest, St. Mary Church in Maghagha: “They entered the bus and told us to rebuke our faith but we refused and so they opened fire on us.”
- “What did we do to deserve this?”
- “Our family lost 15 members.”
- “What did children do to deserve to die like this?”
- “Young children were killed! Who can explain this to me?”
- “They were killed because they were Christian!”
- “We are afraid to walk on the street.”
- “Why are we being killed? We don’t hate anyone. Our religion is one of love.”
- “If we as Christians are weak, we have a strong God. If we are weak, then be strong and protect us!”
- Sorial Gabriel, Priest, The Apostles Church in Beni Mazar: “We will never ask for anything but peace. We have nothing but peace.”
Egyptians continue to face a host of tragedies. Just the other week, a man called our live program Keep on Singing to ask for prayer for his daughter, who was kidnapped two years ago and, still, has not been returned. His desperation to be reunited with his daughter has even led him to contact fortune tellers; however, the presenters of Keep on Singing encouraged him to stay in contact with the show, and referred him to our Christian counseling center.