In the wake of today’s killing of 26 Coptic Christians in Egypt’s Minya Province, the head of an international Catholic charity called on the Egyptian government, the US and other Western nations to commit significant resources to protect the nation’s vulnerable Christian community.
Since December 2011, in three separate attacks on worshippers in Cairo, Alexandria and Tanta, ISIS claimed responsibility for the deaths of at least 78 Christians. The group is the likely perpetrator behind today’s attack as well.
George Marlin, chairman of Aid to the Church in Need-USA—referring to the terrorist attack earlier this week in Manchester, England that killed 22 people—said that “vulnerable as European countries and the US are, there is a comprehensive security apparatus in place to prevent many attacks and conduct in-depth surveillance of potential attackers.”
Marlin called on the international community to work still more closely with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi and begin laying the foundation for such an “urgent, comprehensive anti-terror security network” to protect Christians in Egypt.
A regional approach, he added, could provide added protection for Christians in Lebanon and Jordan as well—“and even begin to come up with some answers for the grave difficulties confronting Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria.”
“Pope Francis had a chance to enlist the help of the US when he met with President Trump the other day,” said Marlin, who cited the statement issued after that meeting as saying that the Pope and the American president discussed “the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities.”
“It’s one thing to talk about political negotiation and interreligious dialogue,” said Marlin, “but clearly something more concrete has to happen as well: a major commitment on the part of the US and other nations to fund the kind of intelligence-gathering and unflinching counter-measures that can begin to guarantee the safety of highly vulnerable Christian populations in the Middle East.”
Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.