An Egyptian court has sentenced a man to death for killing six Coptic Christians and a Muslim policeman in January 2010. Mohamed Ahmed Hussein was found guilty of premeditated murder for his role in a drive-by shooting outside a church in Nag Hamadi, in southern Egypt. VOM assisted some of the Nag Hamadi victims with medical care and recovery.
The sentence was issued just two weeks after a suicide bomber killed 23 people at a Coptic church in Alexandria. AFP news agency reports that the bishop of Nag Hamadi, Anba Kirolos, said his congregation was “satisfied” with the ruling. Two other men are also on trial in connection with the 2010 shooting.
The lack of action on the case had frustrated Egypt’s Coptic population, who feel more and more marginalized by the Muslim majority as anti-Christian sentiment against them grows. Copts often complain of discrimination and harassment, and protest that attacks against them go unpunished or result in light sentences. The harsh sentence against Hussein may indicate that the government is listening to the complaints from Copts, who make up about 10 percent of the population in Egypt. Evangelicals make up less than 4 percent.
Continue to pray for unity in Egypt. Pray for the physical healing of those injured in the church attacks, and pray for families who lost loved ones. Ask God to give strength to Christians suffering harassment, torture and ill treatment.