Rebecca Atallah, de Canadese vrouw van de Egyptische directeur van het bijbelgenootschap, geeft deze beschrijving van de aanval op de christenen van Mokattam gisteren:
Some of you will have heard on the news about the problems at the “shanty town in Manshiyit el Nasr” here in Cairo, and may not realize that that is the same as the Mokattam Garbage Village, where I have been ministering for 28 years. So I want to let you know the details, because we need prayer—big time! Already 10 have died, many are seriously injured, and 8 houses and several factories have been burned!
Yesterday some of the youth from the Village wanted to show their solidarity with the people of the Coptic church that was burned down last week on the outskirts of Cairo. (Many homes and small shops were also burned down by the Muslims in that village.) So they unwisely went down to the highway below the Village where they had a demonstration and even pelted passing cars on the highway, stopping the traffic.
When the army arrived and asked them to not do that, they obeyed but still stayed down there demonstrating, even when the head priest Father Simon and many men from the Village went down and begged them to come home. That disobedience cost many of them their lives! Suddenly, about 4:00 P.M., large groups of Muslim youths from surrounding areas began to form and attack the Christians. Within hours there were many thousands in the fight, and the attackers had all kinds of weapons, whereas the Village youth mostly had stones.
Although the army sent in several tanks, they apparently did nothing until later in the evening, when they are reported by eye witnesses to have shot in the air indiscriminately.
That evening my good friend Samia, who teaches at the Village School I work at, called me in desperation. Her house and family were being threatened and only the Village men were defending them. (She lived in a lovely home on the outskirts of the Village, with her lawyer husband and 5 children.)
Others called too, begging for help and prayer. Throughout the evening I kept in touch with Samia, until at 1:00 A.M. she told me that their home had been torched and she and her children had fled to a relative’s home. I learned yesterday that it was completely looted then burned down, as were the nearby homes of her sister and sister-in-law.
Although over 130 people were injured, most through gun shots and some very seriously, no ambulances or fire engines arrived at the Village until early the next morning. Our 2, rather primitive hospitals up there did there best to treat the wounded and many people are now in the city hospitals. So far, 10 have died, 9 of them young Christians and 1 a Muslim who lives at the Village and was defending his home there.
It is quite obvious that this was a well-organized and deliberate attack on Christians in general and Garbage People in particular. The funeral of 7 of them will be today, March 10th, at our Village Church. Please pray with us for comfort and a sense of God’s security and that the Village Christians will not seek revenge, especially following the funeral.
Egypt is going through very tough times, with a crumbling system of law and order and an army which—though the only authority “in charge” at present—seems to be quite weak and at time indecisive. Although the Revolution brought some good and necessary changes, it also caused quite a collapse in the fabric of society, including the economic system. Millions of people are out of work, partly because foreign companies, investors and tourists have not returned. Naturally, this all has a negative impact on people who are trying—in vain—to feed their families and is causing great social unrest.
So we need prayer, dear friends—lots of lots of it! We hate to see our beloved country collapsing like this, people going hungry, and Christians possibly becoming scapegoats for all ills. We need the world-wide body of believers to bring these problems to our sovereign, powerful and loving Lord. Thank you in advance for praying.