Major Jewish Group Denounces ‘Horrific’ Mass Murder at Coptic Christian Church in Cairo; Urges Incoming US Administration to Help Egypt Overcome Scourge of Religion-Based Terrorism
A global Jewish human rights organization that researches and teaches about the Holocaust in the context of contemporary hatred and terrorism condemned the mass murder of Christians during Sunday mass at a chapel in Cairo.
Responding to the bombing at a house of worship adjacent to Egypt’s main Coptic cathedral, which left at least 25 dead and dozens more seriously wounded – mostly women and children — the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) urged the incoming US administration to act to help Egyptian authorities “overcome the continuing scourge” of such violence against innocent people.
SWC Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper said, “This horrific attack is only the latest targeting of Christians in the Middle East, including Iraq and Syria. If the rights of religious minorities aren’t protected by governments — if families have to fear for their safety when going to their houses of worship — then there is no hope for a stable and peaceful Middle East.”
According to Egyptian media reports, the explosion in the small church of St. Peter and St. Paul — attached to the St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral – may have been caused by a bomb placed on the premises. St. Mark’s is home to the spiritual leader of the Orthodox Christian community, Pope Tawadros II, who was not present during the attack, as he is visiting Greece.
The reports also claim that 12 kilos (26.5 pounds) of TNT were used by the terrorists, whose identity has yet to be established. However, the attack came two days after six policemen were killed in a bombing on a road leading to the Great Pyramid of Giza – and the group that took credit for the murders is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization that is outlawed in Egypt.
It also came on the heels of Saturday night’s double attack – a suicide bombing and a car explosion – at Maçka Park in Istanbul, which left at least 38 dead and wounded 155. Responsibility for the mass killing in Turkey was claimed by the Popular Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).