The Egyptian military recently took control of the national government in a move that many analysts have described as a coup d’état. The military’s seizure of President Morsi and arrests of members of his government have triggered a serious political and constitutional crisis. The military suppression of protests has involved brutal tactics, including opening fire on crowds of Muslim Brotherhood protesters with live ammunition, killing hundreds of pro-Morsi protesters.
In this chaotic situation, attacks on Coptic Christian churches have increased dramatically. Anti-government protesters, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood, are allegedly responsible for most of the attacks. Egyptian police officers have been accused of complicity in some of the iconoclastic attacks.
The Washington Post reports that “more than 60 churches that have been attacked, vandalized and in many cases set aflame across Egypt in a surge of violence against Christians that has followed the bloody Aug. 14 raid by Egyptian security forces on two Islamist protest camps in Cairo.” According to the Washington Post, “The attacks, most of them in Egypt’s Nile Valley, have lent legitimacy to the military-backed government’s claims that it is fighting a war against terrorism.”
The Washington Post reports on the most recent wave of attacks on Coptic Christian churches in Egypt. NPR has covered the escalating violence against Coptic churches. Coptic Christians comprise approximately 10 percent of the population of Egypt, making them a significant religious minority in Egyptian society. NPR has provided a series of stories on the worsening sectarian divides in Egypt over the past year.