Attacks on Christians – Be They in Pakistan or Cairo is an Affront to Humanity

We have been highlighting the attacks and incitement against minority communities form some time. Just within the last 2 months, we highlighted Islamist extremism targeting members of Ahmaddiya communities in Pakistan. A few days ago, the small Christian community in Quetta, who were celebrating mass in the coming days to Christmas, were attacked and 9 people were killed in an Islamic State inspired attack. 

A few days ago, Iraq’s Christian communities in Telesqaf could celebrate mass for the first time after the Islamic State’s defeat. Then today, a devastating attack, once again, on the Coptic Christian community on the outskirts of Cairo. 

The attack at the church in Mar Mina, on the outskirts of Cairo, has left 9 people dead and with 2 gunmen opening fire on the church. Egyptian security forces are stepping up their patrols and visibility as Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7th 2018. 

This is not the first time that such attacks have been targeted at Egypt’s Coptic community and sadly, it may not be the last. There is a connection with all of these attacks since Islamist extremism has been the driving force. In Pakistan, Iraq and Egypt, groups inspired by it have attacked churches and congregations at prayer. Yet, Islamist extremism does not only attack other faiths, it attacks minorities within – such as Shia and Ahmaddiya communities. In fact, anyone beyond what Islamist extremists regard as being ‘true Muslims’ is in their eyes, liable to be attacked. 

As we move into 2018, it is essential that civil society groups who value human rights, challenge not only the causes of all forms of extremism, but also the ideology that drives them. The latter is essential given that extremism turns on the most vulnerable communities in society.