Suicide bombers kill 44 at Palm Sunday services in Egypt

Does anyone still believe that Islam is a “religion of peace”? This much-bandied about slogan, invented by some gullible Western leaders, has become an absolute joke even amongst secularists nowadays. Let’s face facts: Islam is a ‘religion’ of the sword… meaning of course, that it brings war, bloodshed, tyranny, suffering and persecution wherever it goes. It is true there are plenty of peaceful Muslims in the world that generally disagree with terrorism, and some Muslim nations that appear less inclined to acts of violence and persecution of Christians and minority groups, but according to their bellicose co-religionists, they are “bad” Muslims, ignoring the call to jihad written all over the Satanical verses of the Koran and preached by their intransigent mullahs in mosques.

Today we have just one more Islamic horror of unspeakable, cowardly evil making headlines in the news. Over 40 innocent Coptic Christian murdered by an Islamic terrorist bomber, with many more horribly wounded in two bomb explosions in churches as Christians celebrated the feast of Palm Sunday. They won’t be the last! 

We pray for these brave martyrs, the wounded, and all their grieving families. We pray fervently for our much-persecuted Coptic Christian brethren, and all Christians living under the constant threat of Islamic intolerance and hatred.

A general view shows forensics collecting evidence at the site of the bomb blast which struck worshippers gathering to celebrate Palm Sunday at the Mar Girgis Coptic Church in the Nile Delta City of Tanta (AFP/Getty)

From: The Catholic Herald

ISIS claims responsibility for the latest attacks on the country’s Christian minority

Suicide bombers struck hours apart at two Coptic churches in northern Egypt, killing 44 people and turning Palm Sunday services into scenes of horror and outrage at the government that led the president to call for a three-month state of emergency.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the violence, adding to fears that extremists are shifting their focus to civilians, especially Egypt’s Christian minority.

The attacks in the northern cities of Tanta and Alexandria that also left 126 people wounded came at the start of Holy Week leading up to Easter, and just weeks before Pope Francis is due to visit.

Pope Tawadros II, the leader of the Coptic church who will meet with Francis on April 28-29, was in the Alexandra cathedral at the time of the bombing but was unhurt, the Interior Ministry said.

It was the single deadliest day for Christians in decades and the worst since a bombing at a Cairo church in December killed 30 people.

Late Sunday night, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi called for a three-month state of emergency. According to Egypt’s constitution, parliament must vote in favor of such a declaration — a virtual certainty since it is packed with supporters of the president. It cannot exceed six months without a referendum to extend it.

The army chief-turned-president also dispatched elite troops across the country to protect key installations and accused unidentified countries of fuelling instability, saying that “Egyptians have foiled plots and efforts by countries and fascist, terrorist organisations that tried to control Egypt.”

The attacks highlighted the difficulties facing el-Sissi’s government in protecting Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population.

“Where is the government?” screamed an angry Maged Saleh, who rushed to the church in the Nile Delta city of Tanta where his mother escaped the carnage. “There is no government!”

The first bomb exploded inside St George’s Church in Tanta, killing at least 27 people and wounding 78, officials said, overturning pews, shattering windows and staining the whitewashed walls with blood.

Video from inside the church broadcast by CBC TV showed people gathered around what appeared to be lifeless, bloody bodies covered with papers. Several doors had been blown off. Women wailed outside.

“After the explosion, everything became dark from the smoke,” said Edmond Edward, attending Mass with his brother, Emil, who suffered head wounds and leaned on him for support at a nearby hospital.

“There was a clear lapse in security, which must be tightened from now on to save lives,” he told the Associated Press. The blast appeared to be centered near the altar, he said.

Susan Mikhail, whose apartment balcony across the street has a clear view of the church and its front yard, said the explosion violently shook her building.

Egyptian Christians gather around and carry coffins during the late night funeral of the victims of a blast which killed worshippers attending Palm Sunday Mass at the Mar Girgis Coptic Orthodox Church in Tanta (AFP/Getty)

“Deacons were the first to run out of the church. Many of them had blood on their white robes,” she told the AP. The more seriously wounded then were carried out by other survivors and taken to hospitals in private cars, she said.

Hundreds of residents gathered in the area, and church members blocked people from entering the church as police cordoned off the area.

A few hours later, a suicide bomber rushed toward St Mark’s Cathedral in the coastal city of Alexandria, the historic seat of Christendom in Egypt, killing at least 17 people and wounding 48.

CCTV images showed a man with a blue sweater tied over his shoulders approaching the main gate to St Mark’s and then being turned away by security and directed toward a metal detector. He passed a female police officer talking to another woman, and entered a metal detector before an explosion engulfed the area.

The Health Ministry said six Muslims were among the dead in Alexandria.

Pope Tawadros II had held Palm Sunday services at the cathedral and the timing of the attack indicated the bomber had sought to assassinate him.

Pope Francis marked Palm Sunday in St Peter’s Square by expressing “deep condolences to my brother, Pope Tawadros II, the Coptic church and all of the dear Egyptian nation.”

Magdy George Youssef, a deacon at St George’s, said the church was almost full when the blast occurred and threw him under a pew.

“All I could think of was to find my wife, and all I could see was smoke, blood and completely charred bodies,” the distraught 58-year-old said. Youssef, who suffered only an injured ear, later found his wife at home, with burns to her face.

ISIS said in a statement that two Egyptian suicide bombers named Abu Ishaq al Masri and Abu al Baraa al Masri carried out the church attacks and vowed to continue attacks against Christians.

“What happened is a dangerous indicator that shows how easy it is to attack a large gathering of people in different places,” said researcher Ishaq Ibrahim with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. “There is a complete government failure in taking the ISIS threat seriously.”

El-Sissi said in a statement that Sunday’s attacks would only strengthen the resolve of Egyptians against “evil forces.” He held an emergency meeting of the National Defense Council, which includes the prime minister, the defense and interior ministers, the speaker of parliament and top army commanders and security chiefs.

Regional police chief Brig Gen Hossam Elddin Khalifa was fired over the Tanta bombing, with Maj Gen Tarek Hassouna replacing him, state-run newspaper al-Ahram reported.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he is “so sad to hear of the terrorist attack” against the U.S. ally but added that he has “great confidence” that el-Sissi “will handle the situation properly.” The two leaders met at the White House on April 3.

Grand Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, head of Egypt’s Al-Azhar — the leading center of learning in Sunni Islam — also condemned the attacks, calling them a “despicable terrorist bombing that targeted the lives of innocents.”

Both Israel and the Islamic Hamas movement ruling neighbouring Gaza condemned the bombings as well.

An Islamic State affiliate claimed the December bombing as well as a string of killings in the northern Sinai that forced hundreds of Christians to flee to safer areas. The militants recently vowed to step up attacks against Christians, whom they regard as infidels.

Egypt has struggled to combat a wave of Islamic militancy since the 2013 military overthrow of an elected Islamist president.

The Sinai-based IS affiliate has mainly attacked police and soldiers, but has also claimed bombings including the downing of a Russian passenger jetliner in the Sinai in 2015, which killed all 224 people aboard and devastated Egypt’s tourism industry.

Egypt’s Copts are one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East and have long complained of discrimination and that the government does not do enough to protect them. Security at churches is routinely increased around religious holidays.

The Copts largely supported the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, and incurred the wrath of many of his followers, who attacked churches and other Christian institutions.

While the Copts have stood steadfast alongside the government, an increase in attacks on Christians has tested that support.

Egyptian media had previously reported that the church in Tanta had been targeted before, with a bomb defused there in late March.

As night fell, hundreds of Christians, mostly clad in black, streamed to the church to offer their condolences. Scuffles broke out between the mourners and church volunteers guarding the church’s doors as many pushed and shoved to get in.

 

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15 Responses to Suicide bombers kill 44 at Palm Sunday services in Egypt

  1. 000rjbennett says:

    We’d all better get used to the Great Religion of Peace. It will soon be the dominant religion in Europe. The next step will be the “peace” that Sharia brings.

    I suppose it’s good that Europeans are more tolerant than we Americans are.

    The problem, though, is that Europeans are so tolerant that they’re going to tolerate themselves into extinction.

  2. Shadon says:

    I think the real problem with many European countries is that decades of muslim immigration and leaders willing to experiment in multi-culturalism has led to situations in which the fastest growing populations are the muslim ones, who are already bona fide EU nationals. They will bring over cousins and nephews to get married and get an EU nationality, seek asylum in all these European countries and keep their women at home to raise as many children as possible. All this while educated Europeans get university degrees, travel and go on to high-flying careers – all of which put starting a family into the back seat. What is happening is a back-door and non-violent islamic invasion of Europe and once they feel they have enough of they own kind in place, then we will see the true face of Islam on our very doorsteps.
    My only consolation for the victims of today is that they died because of following Christ in the face of persecution, which will surely gain them a martyrs crown in Heaven.

  3. toadspittle says:

    “We’d all better get used to the Great Religion of Peace. “
    Since when did any religion offer peace?
    “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”
    -J. Christ (32 a.d. – approx.)

  4. toadspittle says:

    We seem to be in agreement that Muslims are primitive souls who base everything on their religion. We can only hope they get more civilised and liberal as time goes by – like the Christians did.

  5. kathleen says:

    Yes, Toad, but what was that “sword” of Christ? It was those opposing Christ’s followers who wielded it, but Christ told His followers not to defend Him and His message by the sword, i.e., by violence. “Put your sword back in its place, Jesus said to him, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword” – (Matt. 26:52).

    The Gospel was spread by giving witness to Christ, by being “other Christs” in a hostile world. It was a very powerful testimony that captured the hearts of those that first heard it and spread like wildfire. Love and forgiveness was its spur, not “the sword” (fear and oppression), the methods used by Islam some centuries later to conquer Christian lands. Just look at the incredible spread of Christianity at its outset through the living testimony of the Apostles as recounted in Acts! And how holy missionaries who have preached the Word whilst giving true witness at the same time have brought millions into the True Faith!

    (When Christians have disobeyed Christ and resorted to acts of unwarranted violence, either towards others or amongst themselves, they are sinning and no longer evangelising others in the way Christ taught.)

    And now I expect you will come up with talk of the Crusades (your usual pet taunt) or other such battles Christians have been forced into at times! But as always, you are barking up the wrong tree. The Crusades et al were legitimate battles of self defence, not aggression. It would be cowardly and wrong to allow evil aggressors to massacre defenceless women, children, old folk etc., plus destroying our people’s homes and livelihoods, without putting up any resistance. Yes, I (and the majority of Christians) believe in the “Just War” theory. But it must always be only that – moderated and just – never resorting to acts of unnecessary aggression.

  6. toadspittle says:

    “And now I expect you will come up with talk of the Crusades (your usual pet taunt)”
    I have never(until now) mentioned the Crusades, Kathleen. Anything bad that ever happened , or happens., to “The Holy Land” ( definitive oxymoron!) is just fine by me.
    I’m a Spanish Inquisition and Reformation fan, myself.

    “Christ told His followers not to defend Him and His message by the sword, i.e., by violence. “
    Then why don’t Christians ever take Christ at his word?

  7. kathleen says:

    “Then why don’t Christians ever take Christ at his word?”

    Many holy Christians do, Toad, and that is why the adjective “Christian” is used to describe those who are kind, loving and forgiving (whether they be believers or not!)

    But you are quite right, many of us are not always such great examples of Christ’s humility and peace… and starting with myself, as we all should, I have to admit it 😔. Let’s start to change this, shall we?

  8. toadspittle says:

    Very well said, Kathleen. But you, and I ( I, particularly, will have to forgive, and be tolerant of a great many things you and I find intolerable.
    Like murder and lies and hate. I’m not up for any of that.
    I await, (not very glumly – it ain’t gonna happen) terrorist murders by crazed Agnostics. They have not happened yet. Maybe they never will . Hard for me, or any of us, to kill someone because we simply don’t know if they are right or wrong.
    Only God knows. So they say. I have no idea.
    But we agree the world is a swamp of horror. Always was.

  9. GC says:

    Shadon @ April 10, 2017 at 21:13 (7 above)

    That was nicely and calmly put. Thank you.

    The situation you have described is, I think, probably akin to Toad’s loverly secularism in Ireland, UK, Spain etc, that are nice and multicultural to everyone (except to the local Christian population, very possibly). Secularists are just like that, they can’t help it.

    If your estimation of the future of Europe is accurate, then I suppose you will be beholden to excellent and uber-nice tolerant secularists that enjoy the seal of approval of Toad (and his dogs!).

  10. GC says:


    (source)

    For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

  11. GC says:

    Here are many Egyptian Christians gathered in a cave church in a mainly Christian, poorer part of Cairo on a national prayer night for them. It is evangelical in flavour, but it’s clear that many of the Coptic Orthodox took part too – young and old, but mainly young. Being, perhaps, historically unfamiliar with the evangelicals’ style, which we Catholics in the anglophone world are less so, these Egyptian brethren are not averse to joining with them for these occasions and probably generally. I am not sure of the exact situation, but I’m guessing there is an evangelical or charismatic movement within the Coptic Church also.

    Anyway, we can have a lovely long look at our suffering Egyptian brothers and sisters and do as much as we can for them by our actions and prayers.

  12. GC says:

    I do want to add this one too, Increase your praises to Christ in Arabic.

    A version with both moving and alarming English subtitles is here, with many Coptic clergy participating also back in the cave church.

  13. toadspittle says:

    Toad’s “uber-nice and tolerant secularists” are not the ones killing Coptic Christians, GC.
    it’s the religious maniacs. The people who get their instructions, so they think – from God.
    If we could somehow neutralise all the God-crazed loonies in the world, we could rest easier. Surely we agree on that?
    I’m no more in favour of “turning the other cheek,” to Muslim crackpots than you, or Kathleen, or Robert John, are.
    Get your retaliation in first – and good and hard – is Toad’s motter.

  14. GC says:

    If Toad checks I think Toad will see that I was referring to Shadon’s summary of the situation in Europe now, not in Egypt. Shadon’s comment is now 11 spaces above this.The lovely tolerant European secularists, who have Toad’s ringing approval, need to admit responsibility here. Whatever they were thinking (= sod religion, our ideas are above all that???) and trying to make everyone buy it, just didn’t happen. In fact the opposite appears to be the case.

  15. bvsg says:

    You should note that Islam is now a “protected” religion in Canada. It is the only faith that has such status in the country. Read up on it…

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