This article was first published at Christianity Today on February 27, 2017.
As Coptic Christians flee Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in unprecedented numbers, a Protestant church is there to receive them.
“We were the first to respond,” said Atef Samy, associate pastor at Kasr el-Dobara Evangelical Church in Cairo. “Two of those killed were very dear to our church.”
In the last few days, more than 100 families have left their homes in Sinai for the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, 125 miles west.
On February 19, the Egypt chapter of ISIS released a video calling Copts “our priority and our preferred prey.” Three days later, one man was shot and his adult son burned alive.
“This is sheer terrorism,” Samy said. “They want to embarrass the government and claim they can cleanse the Christian presence.”
In recent weeks, seven Copts have been killed. Witnesses say they were murdered in cold blood, with no negotiation, theft, or attempts to convert to Islam.
Hit lists are also reportedly being circulated, warning Christians to leave or die.
“I am not going to wait for death,” Rami Mina, who left Arish on Friday morning, told Reuters. “I shut down my restaurant and got out of there. These people are ruthless.”
Samy declined to name those killed, but identified them as born-again Christians active in ministry. His church quickly mobilized to help others leave, and provided support to the Ismailia church that has assisted dozens. Mattresses, blankets, food, and medical supplies are the most pressing needs.
Adel Shukrallah, responsible for youth ministry in the Evangelical Church of Ismailia, is heading the Protestant relief effort locally.
Please click here to read the full article at Christianity Today.