There have been plenty of well-documented reasons to temper global enthusiasm about the Arab Spring, and the precarious state of the Egyptian church is high among them. Now, with a recently resigned member of the Muslim Brotherhood as Egypt’s first freely elected president in modern history, Coptic Christians react:
“Between ourselves (as Christians) we say we are for (Morsi’s opponent Ahmed) Shafiq, but we cannot mention this publicly,” said Father Yu’annis, a priest of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Upper Egypt. “But as a church we say — and believe — that we will accept who God gives us and work for the good of Egypt. Many people are afraid now and are thinking of emigrating. But Egypt is a country of rumors, and if not for these we would all be fine.”
Meanwhile, the religious strife in Nigeria only seems to be getting worse, with whole states going into lockdown and Christians staying locked safely in their homes on Sunday mornings.
Worried by the threat by Boko Haram to make June the bloodiest in the history of its attacks, most Christians Sunday stayed away from churches in the Northern parts of the country, especially in Kaduna, Kano, Jos and many other cities.
In recent weeks, Christians have been serially attacked in their churches during worship services by the Islamic insurgents, Boko Haram. In Kaduna State, for instance, three churches-two in Kaduna and one in Zaria – were bombed penultimate Sunday, resulting in the death of 92 people in the tit-for-tat reprisals between Muslims and Christians, a situation that has resulted in a lockdown in the state. Prior to the Kaduna suicide bombings, churches in Bauchi and Jos were attacked for two consecutive Sundays in a row.
In several churches in Abuja yesterday, worshippers were few and visibly jittery owing to the threat by Boko Haram to start a religious conflagration.
Anthonia Eke, who spoke to Reuters, said she is trusting God to end an Islamist insurgency in Northern Nigeria but won’t be praying in church any more, after a string of bombs at Sunday services. “We are still traumatised over the attacks and have no intention to attend church service until total peace and normalcy are restored,” Eke said in Kano. “God understands our situation here so we have decided to pray at home. Only he can end this pain.”