Why are some Christians murdered and many more terrorized in the name of Islam every Easter holiday?
This year’s most notable attack occurred in Egypt, where two packed Coptic Christian churches were bombed during Palm Sunday mass, leaving 50 dead and 120 injured.
While this incident received some coverage in Western media, attacks on churches in Egypt on or around Easter are not uncommon. For instance, two days after the Palm Sunday attacks, on April 12, authorities thwarted another Islamic terror attack targeting a Coptic monastery in Upper Egypt. Similarly, on April 12, 2015, Easter Sunday, two explosions targeting two separate churches took place in Egypt. Although no casualties were reported—hence no reporting in Western media—large numbers could easily have resulted, based on precedent (for example, on January 1, 2011, as Egypt’s Christians ushered in the New Year—another Christian holiday for Orthodox communities—car bombs went off near the Two Saints Church in Alexandria, resulting in 23 dead worshippers and dozens critically injured).
Less spectacular but no less telling, after 45 years of waiting, the Christians of Nag Shenouda, Egypt, finally got a permit to build a church; local Muslims responded by rioting and even burning down the temporary tent the Christians had erected to worship under (different incident from this similar one). Denied, the Christians of Nag Shenouda celebrated Easter in the street, to Muslims jeers and sneers (picture here)
While almost anything can provoke Muslims around the world to attack churches, there is a reason that the animus can reach a fever pitch during Easter: more than any other Christian holiday, Resurrection Sunday commemorates and celebrates three central Christian doctrines that Islam manifestly rejects: that Christ was crucified and died; that he was resurrected; and that by especial virtue of the latter, he is the Son of God. As Dr. Abdul Rahman al-Bir, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood’s mufti said in 2013, Muslims must not commend Coptic Christians during Easter, for that holiday “contradicts and clashes with Islamic doctrine unlike Christmas.”
From here the carnage makes sense. Thus on Easter Sunday, 2016, another Islamic suicide bombing took place near the children rides of a public park in Pakistan, where Christians were known to be congregated and celebrating. Some 70 people—mostly women and children—were killed and nearly 400 injured. Something similar was in store for Pakistan this year, 2017, as officials foiled a “major terrorist attack” targeting Christians on Easter Sunday.
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