“Egyptian security forces failed to protect the Christian minority from violence and property damage in the days after Mohamed Morsi,” reported by human rights watchdog Amnesty International in September. Though there had been sporadic sectarian clashes in the first few months of the year, after President Morsi’s ouster, things went from bad to worse for the Coptic community.
On the heels of the August 14 dispersal of pro-Morsi sit-ins, Christians have suffered several attacks, with the Egyptian Centre for Public Policy Studies reporting the destruction of 30 houses of worship, and over 60 Christian shops, homes and cars making August the “fiercest violence against Christians in Egypt’s contemporary history.”
In October a lone gunman on a motorbike sprayed bullets at the Virgin Mary Church in Al-Warraq as a group was walking out of a wedding service. Four people lost their lives, among them an 8-year-old girl, and 17 were injured.
Disturbed by reports of persecution from across the region, Roman Catholic Pope Francis told Christian leaders, “the Catholic Church will not accept a Middle East without Christians, who often find themselves forced to flee areas of conflict and unrest in the region.”