Thursday's HOT MIC

Thursday's HOT MIC

Heightened Alert for Coptic Christians in Egypt

Egyptian churches on Thursday suspended pilgrimages, holidays and conferences for the remainder of July and August after authorities warned them about possible attacks by Islamic militants.

Ishak Ibrahim, an activist and a top researcher on the Egyptian church, reported the suspension by the majority Coptic Orthodox and the smaller Anglican and Catholic churches. Security officials, pastors and other activists confirmed the suspension.

They said the warning was delivered to church representatives during a meeting this week with top army and security commanders in the southern city of Assiut. They have also been told that army troops backed by armored vehicles and snipers would be deployed outside monasteries hosting major religious festivals in coming weeks. At least two of these festivals will take place in Assiut, home to a sizable Christian community.

Security officials confirmed the heightened measures and the warnings conveyed to the churches. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

There has been a lot of news recently about success against ISIS in Iraq. They've been the headline-grabbers for so long that various other militant Islamic groups can often be overlooked. The Coptic community in Egypt has been under siege for years and the press barely reports on it. Perceived potential violence (Islamophobia!) is more newsworthy than very real violence that's committed at an alarming pace, because the narrative must be maintained.