Egypt's Christians Urge Protection Amid Attacks

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Egypt's Christians are crying out for justice after continued attacks on their community this year.

Egyptian officials blame outside groups like al Qaeda, but believers say the government does nothing to protect them.

Authorities are trying to determine if homegrown Islamic radicals bombed a Christian church on New Year's, killing 21 worshippers and wounding nearly 100 others

They're also investigating whether al Qaeda-backed outsiders, possibly from Iraq, sneaked into Egypt to commit or coordinate the bombing.

"This one could well be an al Qaeda attack," Paul Marshall of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom. "It seems to be better planned. It looks like a suicide attack. So there could really be an escalation."

Christian protestors took to the streets in Egypt's cities.

"All these people murdered, what have they done?" one believer asked. "They were just celebrating a new year, praying in a house of God."

"The U.S. State Department now speaks in Egypt of a climate of impunity that is if someone attacks (Coptic Christians) nothing's going to happen to them," Marshall explained. "There's impunity the attacks are increasing and the Copts feel that they're simply not being protected. They're just out there being killed."

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak blamed outside terrorists and spoke of Muslim/Christian unity.

"Terrorists are not going to succeed in threatening Egypt and threatening the unity of the Muslims and Christians living side by side in Egypt," he said.

But Marshall says the attacks are increasing because Egypt's muslim community is becoming more radicalized.

"A lot of Egyptian workers go and work in Saudi Arabia. They get radcialized," he said. "The Saudis pump money into Egypt and Islamic educational institutions so across the board an increase in more radical forms of Islam and increased intolerance and persecution."

Meanwhile, Egypt's top Muslim cleric came together with the spiritual leader of the nation's Orthodox Coptic Christians to say Egyptians of all religions need to stay united.

The pope weighed in as well, saying the attack in Egypt, just like those on Iraqi Christians, "offends God and the whole of humanity."

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CBN News
Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

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