An explosion inside the small church of St. Peter and St. Paul within the Cairo Coptic Cathedral compound during services this morning has reportedly killed 25 worshipers and wounded at least 57 more.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 11, 2016
— Daily Express (@Daily_Express) December 11, 2016
Here is some video of the aftermath of today’s church bombing:
I have been here several times, including attending the Easter service at the cathedral in 2014. I also had several meetings with Pope Tawadros in his offices within the cathedral compound, and I was in Cairo just a few weeks ago.
Coptic Bishop Angaelos spoke with the BBC earlier today about the bombing and the ongoing attacks on the Christian community in Egypt.
There have been dozens of attacks targeting the Coptic Christian community in Egypt this year alone.
— The Tahrir Institute (@TimepDC) December 11, 2016
The Coptic community in Egypt numbers approximately 13 million, with most living in Upper Egypt. That community represents more than half of all Christians living in the Middle East.
This past August I reported here at PJ Media on my 2014 trip into Upper Egypt to survey the damage to the 70+ churches and monasteries throughout Egypt which were torched in August 2013 during a terror spree by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Today’s bombing fits into a larger pattern of attacks by Islamists used to attempt to destabilize the government in Egypt.
In January 2010, a drive-by shooting outside a church in Nag Hammadi during Christmas services killed six.
Today’s attack is reminiscent of the New Year’s Day 2011 Two Saints church bombing in Alexandria that killed 23 worshipers.
A senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Essam El-Erian, later said that the Two Saints church bombing helped destabilize the Mubarak regime. Mubarak resigned less than two months later.
The subsequent Muslim Brotherhood takeover in Egypt accelerated attacks on Christians and other religious minorities.
The last attack on the Cairo Coptic Cathedral compound occurred in April 2013 during the administration of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi, when armed mobs laid siege to the cathedral during a mass funeral for five youths who were killed in “sectarian clashes.”
Video of the 2013 attack on the cathedral showed police not just allowing the violence, but directly taking part in it.
An aide to Morsi later blamed the Christians for the attack on their cathedral.
Shockingly, the same sentiments are still promulgated by the foreign policy “smart set” even today.
Just yesterday Foreign Policy published an article blaming the ongoing attacks on Egyptian Christians on their support for President el-Sisi.
— Foreign Policy (@ForeignPolicy) December 10, 2016
Ken Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, used that article as an opportunity to also attack Coptic Christians.
@KenRoth As an American & a Copt, I will simply tell you that your assertion is anti Copt bigotry in the extreme.
— salamamoussa (@salamamoussa) December 10, 2016
In fact, President el-Sisi publicly apologized to the Egyptian Christian community earlier this year in a statement during the Christmas Mass at the Cairo cathedral for the delay in rebuilding the churches after the August 2013 Muslim Brotherhood terror campaign, and an aggressive church rebuilding program has been ongoing.
And unlike during the Morsi administration, the current attacks on Christians by Islamist groups are not being aided by government.
Undoubtedly, today’s church bombing was intended to drive a wedge between Coptic Christians and the el-Sisi administration, and the foreign policy “smart set” will seek to exploit this attack in their ongoing campaign to punish el-Sisi for removing Morsi from power in 2013.
In fact, it will probably be hard to distinguish between the talking points of the Muslim Brotherhood and the foreign policy “smart set” following the attack on the cathedral today.