A 24-year-old Muslim man is being questioned by Egyptian security authorities after he slashed a church doorman with a razor at the Two Saints Church in Alexandria earlier today, Egyptian media are reporting.
— MENASTREAM (@MENASTREAM) July 15, 2017
When the doorman tried to stop the suspect from entering the church, he pulled a razor out of his bag and slashed the doorman.
An Interior Ministry press statement said that the victim was treated at the hospital and released.
This incident occurred as churches across Egypt remain on high alert amidst an escalation of attacks on Christians.
Earlier this week the Coptic Church announced that all external events, including pilgrimages, festivals, and conferences, had been canceled nationwide at the suggestion of security services.
— CopticMediaUK (@CopticMediaUK) July 14, 2017
— Daily News Egypt (@DailyNewsEgypt) July 15, 2017
Coptic churches across Egypt ramped up security on Thursday and Friday in response to a warning from the country’s security services.
Churches have seen more security inspections involving metal detectors at the entrances, while more police officers were posted to areas outside.
Salah Hassan, director of security in the city of Qena, said on Thursday that security services were committed to securing churches, adding assurances over the security forces’ vigilance.
The Coptic Church cancelled all official trips and conferences until the end of July on the basis of security advice, a spokesperson of the Coptic Orthodox Church said on Thursday.
“All monasteries have been instructed to cancel all visits or events,” said Father Paulos Halim.
Coptic Christians in Egypt — the largest Christian community in the Middle East — have been under siege by a series of Islamic State attacks since December.
Just a few weeks ago I reported here at PJ Media on an attack on a monastery planned to coincide with the Eid celebrations commemorating the end of Ramadan: It was stopped by security services
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) June 25, 2017
That was preceded by the massacre of a busload of Coptic pilgrims on their way to a remote desert monastery near Minya, with 28 Christians murdered in that attack:
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) May 26, 2017
That followed the killing of 49 worshipers in two churches in Tanta and Alexandria targeted by Islamic State suicide bombers on Palm Sunday:
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) April 9, 2017
The Islamic State also targeted the Coptic community in the Sinai Peninsula in a series of murders, prompting hundreds to flee across the Suez Canal:
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) February 25, 2017
And 29 Coptic worshipers — mostly women and girls — were killed in a suicide bombing of the Two Saints Church in the cathedral compound in Cairo last December:
— PJ Media (@PJMedia_com) December 11, 2016
Cairo Cathedral Bombing Killing 25 During Church Service Fits a Familiar Pattern https://t.co/Xc9ODRGSoj
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) December 11, 2016
I reported on my visit this past April to that church:
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) May 9, 2017
But it hasn’t just been the Islamic State targeting Christians in Egypt:
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) April 14, 2017
Attacks on Egypt's Copts are becoming so commonplace that they no longer interest Western audiences. https://t.co/CUs0eFtuG6
— Foreign Affairs (@ForeignAffairs) June 21, 2017
— Eric Trager (@EricTrager18) June 23, 2017
And attacks in recent weeks have escalated:
— Mina مينا (@Minaism) July 8, 2017
We documented a case of Suzan Ashraf, who disappeared June 5 in Ezbet al-Nekhl and are following two other possible cases in the same area. pic.twitter.com/9eGszWsFKe
— إشهد | Eshhad (@Eshhad_) July 10, 2017
— World Watch Monitor (@wwmonitor) July 7, 2017
— DAVID (@dvdvrgl) July 12, 2017
In fairness, it hasn’t just been Christians who have been targeted for attacks in Egypt:
Islamic State takes a break from murdering Egypt's Coptic Christians to murder 26 Egyptian soldiers. https://t.co/RmjdV0Vyri
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) July 8, 2017
I observed earlier that the Coptic community in Egypt is the largest population of Christians in the Middle East. But, in fact, it represents more than half of all Christians in the region.
With many other Christian communities in the Arab world teetering on the brink of extinction, the larger Christian communities in Egypt and Lebanon are the last stand of Christianity in its ancient birthplace.