Following a May 26 terrorist attack in Egypt which left 28 Coptic Christians dead, Prime Minister Trudeau issued the following statement:
I was appalled and angered to learn of the vicious attack earlier today on Coptic Christians travelling to the monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in Egypt’s Minya governate.
On behalf of Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to everyone who has lost loved ones because of these heinous acts. We also hope and pray that those injured have a safe, complete and rapid recovery.
This is the third major attack on Egypt’s Coptic Christian community in less than two months, a community already reeling from years of discrimination and violence. Today’s victims included women and many children heading to the monastery for worship, as well as workmen serving there as gardeners and builders.
In this troubling time, the people of Egypt can count on Canada’s friendship and support, and we offer our full assistance to the Government of Egypt.
As recent events show, violent extremists often target those most vulnerable. As members of the international community, we must continue to stand against those responsible for these acts of terrorism and counter hate by promoting the values of diversity, inclusion and peace.
President Trump also condemned the “merciless slaughter” of the Christians, calling the gunmen “terrorists” who engage in a “war against civilization”.
“It is up to all who value life to confront and defeat this evil,” he said in a statement, calling on the international community to defend and protect the Christians in the Middle East, to crush the “evil organizations of terror” and to expose their “depraved, twisted and thuggish ideology”.
On Friday, masked gunmen dressed in military uniforms stopped a bus filled with Christian pilgrims and ordered the passengers to get out. According to a report in the New York Times, they then separated the men from women and children, and instructed the men to say the shahada, the Islamic declaration of faith. When the men refused, the gunmen opened fire.
Today’s attack was the third such attack against Christians in Egypt in the last six months. In April, suicide bombers targeted two churches on Palm Sunday, and in December, a suicide bomber targeted a Cairo church. The attacks left over 75 dead and dozens wounded. ISIS State group claimed responsibility and vowed more attacks.
Just as millions of Muslims worldwide were preparing for Ramadan, a holy month of fasting and religious devotion which begins on May 26 and lasts until June 24, ISIS issued a call for an ‘all-out war’ by attacking ‘innocents and civilians in their homes, markets and roads’.
Ilana Shneider is the co-editor of CIJnews and the founding executive director of Canada-Israel Friendship Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the mutually beneficial, long-standing diplomatic, economic and cultural ties between Canada and Israel. She can be reached at [email protected]