At least 25 people, all Coptic Christians, have been killed from Islamic militants’ attacks in Cairo, Egypt, officials say.
Since the end of the Hosni Mubarak’s regime, Egypt has seen a wave of attacks on minority groups by militants since 2013. The attacks against minorities intensified when Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood won Egypt’s election and began serving as president.
Morsi was forced out by the military when cross section of the country opposed his administration to resist his arbitrary action of imposing strict Islamic rules and laws.
Since the ouster of Morsi and the Muslim brotherhood by the military as well as the eventual election of former army chief and defense minister General Abdul Fatah Sisi, members of the brotherhood have faced crackdown due to their violence tactics and uncompromising tendencies.
President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has declared a three-day period of national mourning.
In a statement, President Sisi condemned the attack, and called for the perpetrators to be hunted down and punished.
“Vicious terrorism is being waged against the country’s Copts and Muslims. Egypt will emerge stronger and more united from this situation,” he said.
Coptic Christians make up about 10% of Egypt’s population.
St Mark’s Cathedral is the headquarters of the Coptic Orthodox church, and the home of its leader, Pope Tawadros II.
The Coptic Orthodox Church is the main Christian Church in Egypt and most parts of North Africa. While most Copts live in Egypt, the Church has about a million members outside the country, mainly in the United States, Europe, and Canada.
Copts believe that their Church dates to around 50 AD, when the Apostle Mark is said to have visited Egypt. Mark is regarded as the first Pope of Alexandria – the head of their church.
This makes it one of the earliest Christian groups outside the Holy Land.
Attacks and intimidations against Coptic Christians are widespread throughout Muslim dominated Egypt. Per sources, the dominant Muslim groups desire to convert everyone in Egypt to their faith.
Over the years, Egyptian Coptic Christians have fled to their homeland to seek political asylum in Canada, Europe, and the United States.