Our religious freedom allows us to celebrate Easter this year — but we should remember those around the world who are persecuted for practicing their faith.
Nearly 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith in 2016, according to a report from the Center for Studies on New Religions. “As many as 600 million were prevented from practicing their faith through intimidation, forced conversions, bodily harm, or even death,” Fox News noted. Those numbers are so astounding they can barely be comprehended.
The attacks constituted one of the deadliest days of violence against Christians in Egypt.
This past Palm Sunday, bombings at churches in Egypt left the faithful everywhere highly aware of the existence of Christian persecution.
Now, Egyptian Christians have canceled their Easter services and celebrations for this weekend after attacks from the Islamic State claimed the lives of over 40 people at two Coptic churches.
Choosing instead to use the time as a period of mourning, the Minya Coptic Orthodox Diocese will limit Easter activities to prayers “without any festive manifestations,” according to reports.
Most of the Christians in Egypt are Orthodox Coptic. The Coptics, as in Catholicism, have a pope that heads their church. The pope remained unharmed in the attacks. Police arrested 28 people “for their possible ties to the planning and financing of Sunday’s attacks,” Breitbart News reported.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency following the bombings.
“The attacks constituted one of the deadliest days of violence against Christians in Egypt in decades and presented a challenge to the authority of the country’s leader,” a report in The New York Times noted.
Egyptian security forces killed seven suspected ISIS extremists as they planned more attacks on Christians, the British publication The Daily Mail reported Tuesday.