Egyptian Imams Broadcast Hate Over Loudspeakers Prior to Church Bombings
The Islamic State murdered 35 Christians in two different attacks on Coptic Churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday.
The first explosion took place inside a Coptic church in Egypt’s Tanta, north of Cairo.
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A second explosion took place at St. Mark’s Church in Alexandria, Egypt.
Since the attacks Christian Copts are complaining of local imams blasting hateful messages and threats to Christians on loudspeakers in their communities.
For years, Egyptian Copt Michel Fahmy could hear a Muslim preacher invoking God’s wrath on Christians in sermons blared over loudspeakers from a mosque near his home.
The radical message, he says, is a reason for jihadist attacks on his minority like the twin bombings of churches on Sunday that killed 45 people.
Sunday’s attacks followed a December 11 suicide bombing in a Cairo church. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for all three.
“In mosques there are prayers to harm Christians,” says Fahmy, referring to Friday prayer sermons in which some preachers lead congregations in imprecations against Islam’s “enemies”.
“They incite to violence, youths are being filled with hatred against us and acting on it,” says the 50-year old who runs a souvenir shop in Cairo.
“It concerns us all. It leads to terrorism and to Christians being targeted,” he adds.
Several Coptic Christians told AFP they had heard similar messages in Friday sermons or on Islamic television channels.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has repeatedly urged Cairo’s Al-Azhar, the prestigious Sunni Muslim institution, to “modernise religious discourse.”
Following Sunday’s bombing, he said a committee would be formed to tackle the issue.