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Egypt: New Year's Eve Church Bombing Draws Condemnation

Just few minutes after the clock in Egypt announced the beginning of 2011, a bomb exploded in front of a cathedral in Alexandria where over 1,000 worshipers had gathered to welcome the new year. Twenty-one people were killed, and another 79 injured in the worst church bombing in over a decade in Egypt.

Just two days before the end of 2010, Ragi Shokri wrote in his blog, Ain Fe AlGanna, about his fears and wishes for the new year. He said:

فى استقبال العام الجديد لا املك الا ان اضع يدى على قلبى وان احبس انفاسى فى انتظار رحمة ربى بهذه الامة وهذا الشعب
While welcoming the new year, I have nothing to do but hold my breath and ask God to show His mercy on the Egyptian nation and people.

But destiny was generous enough to give the Egyptians a few minutes of celebration, before they were hit by the news of the Alexandria explosion that ended all their celebrations. Zenobia broke the news of the explosion in her blog:

I do not want to start the new year with bad news like this but just from an hour ago a huge explosion was heard in Miami area and according to early media report it was an explosion that took place in front of the All Saints church [Two Saints Church] at the Khalil Hamda street.

Sara El Sayeh, just like almost all of the Egyptian bloggers, expressed her anger over the bombing:

Some ignorant, backward minded person decided to kill innocent people. To bomb a car near the entrance of a church when people were praying inside. And I know that regardless of what the person thought, or who told him to do it, or anything, there is no way this person is going anywhere but straight to hell.

Sara then continued:

I will not mention anything about the sectarianism this has sparked, because generally, the country, the people have grown more passive, more aggressive and more backward minded than ever…close minded, too. Things were as bad, in terms of bombings and attacks based on religion, in the eighties and early nineties, but shouldn't we be going forward?

Zenobia wrote here blaming the Ministry of Interior's carelessness in securing the Church, especially that some Salafy groups threatened to attack the churches in Egypt and published on their web-forums a list of the churches to be targeted, including the Two Saints Church.

The first one to be blamed in the Alexandria explosion is the Ministry of interior in Egypt or rather the national security apparatus. There is no logic why there was not enough security on this Church when there were threats against the Churches in Christmas issued two weeks prior to the incident. Forget about the old threats from two months , what about the new threats !!? Why did the MOI think that this group was bluffing!!?

It is ironic that when the “Two saints” church had only a small team of security “ an officer and two guards were injured in the attack” , the MOI deployed 10,000 security officer and guard to protect the Israeli pilgrims visiting Yaakov Abuhatzeria shrine in Damanhur. May be this is why there was not enough security in the church , after all Damanhur is near to Alexandria and the additional enforcement will not come in time from Cairo but rather from the nearest biggest governorate next to Beheira aka Alexandria!!

Zeinobia also blamed the government for not announcing national mourning.

Many Egyptians including reporters and TV hosts are wondering why the government has not announced the national mourning and the only answer we have got is that the unofficial national mourning is more important!!

The million dollar question now is who is behind this attack. The head of the state blamed the explosion on “foreign hands” seeking to undermine Egypt's security, stability and unity. Zeinobia summed up the reasons for bloggers to accuse Al-Qaeda, Israel, or even the regime itself. Meanwhile, the blogger in “The Egypt Silent Majorityhad a different point of view:

أكتب هذا الموضوع و لم يتم الكشف بعد عن ملابسات هذه الجريمة البشعة التي تم ارتكابها في حق ابناء مصر المسيحيين و لم يتم بعد كشف النقاب عن عناصر خارجية او داخلية وراء الحادث…الا ان في رأيي المتواضع فسواء كان هناك عناصر خارجية متورطة في هذا التفجير او عناصر داخلية…تنظيم القاعدة او اسرائيل….كل هذا لن يغير من واقع الأمر شيئا….كل هذا لا يجب ان ينسينا او يجعلنا نتغافل عن حقيقة مهمة الا وهي ان (في حاجة غلط)
Here I write about the accident, and before the names of the ones behind this awful crime against the Egyptian Christians are revealed. It's not been known yet whether it's internal hands or foreign ones behind this accident. Whether it's foreign personnel or internal ones that has been involved in this accident, and no matter if it is Al Qaeda or Israel, this doesn't change that fact that there is something wrong in us.

He then continued to state the symptoms and evidence that prove that there is something wrong with the Egyptian society. And here are some of them:

*عندما تندلع المعارك و الإشتباكات في كل مرة يريد فيها المسيحيون بناء كنيسة يتعبدوا و يصلوا فيها….يبقى اكيد في حاجة غلط..!!
*عندما يعيش المسلمون و المسيحيون في هذا البلد و كل طائفة تتصور انها اصحاب البلد و الأخرون مجرد (ضيوف) او (غزاة)….يبقى دة غلط في غلط..!!
*عندما تخرج قبل كل عيد من اعياد الأقباط فتاوى عجيبة تحرم تهنئة (الكفار) بعيدهم…يبقى اكيد في حاجة غلط…!!
*عندما تغض الكنيسة الطرف عن محاضرات بعض القساوسة المتطرفين الذين يبثوا سمومهم عن الإسلام و رسوله في الفضائيات المسيحية متجاهلة بذلك مشاعر ملايين المسلمين الغاضبين…يبقى اكيد في حاجة غلط…!!!
* When there are clashes every time the Christians decide to build an new church to pray in … then surely something is wrong.
* When both of Muslims and Christians believe that this is just their own country and the other party is nothing but a guest or invader …. then surely something is wrong.
* When in every Christian feast the scholars issue weird Fatwas calling them infidels and prohibiting Muslims from celebrating or congratulating them in it … then surely something is wrong.
* When the Church leaves those bishops who attack Islam and Prophet Muhammad all the time on satellite channels unquestioned … then surely something is wrong.

And finally, the reactions everywhere whether on Facebook or offline, and those who called for Muslims to attend the Coptic Christians masses on the 7th of January [Ar] made Maggie Ossama believe that such incident will never be able to break the unity of the Egyptian people regardless of their religion or race:

عايزة اقولها للفاعل المجهول انا مش عايزة اعرف انت مين لكن كل اللي عايزاه اني اقولك لو انت عملت كدا عشان تسبب فتنة طائفية فالمصريين ثبتولك العكس والمظاهرات اللي حصلت في طلعت حرب والعباسية وماسبيرو تشهد على كدا، مسيحيين ومسلمين خرجوا من بيوتهم وراحوا يتظاهروا ايد واحدة والناس اللي راحت اتبرعت بالدم للمصابين كانوا مسيحيين ومسلمين عشان احنا كلنا في الآخر مصريين دم واحد
I want to tell the terrorist, whom I don't care about knowing his identity, that although your intention was to cause sectarian unrest, the Egyptians have proved to you that you were wrong with their demonstrations in downtown. Christians and Muslims went to the streets, hand in hand, and they donated their blood to the victims regardless of their religion, whether they were Christian or Muslims. At the end of the day, we are all Egyptians, and the same blood runs in our veins.

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