Barnabas Fund. Church leaders and up to 400 Christians were trapped inside a church for ten hours when a Muslim mob attacked the building on 12 March in Marsa-Matruh, in northwest Egypt. The mob, estimated at between 2000 and 3000 people, hurled stones during a prayer service, then entered the church and began to assault the Christians. Witnesses said that the number of security officers present was not enough to contain the mob and tear gas was used. The mob then went on to burn Christian-owned homes, shops, businesses and cars, chanting religious and jihadist slogans. Twenty-three Christians were injured in the violence.
The pretext for the attack was the construction without permission of a wall surrounding a plot of land owned by the church. A local church leader said that the violence was incited by inflammatory calls from a Muslim preacher to “fight the enemies”, saying, “We don’t want Christians to live among us.” A meeting was to be held the following day between the church leaders, the State Security and Muslim elders in the area to bring some reassurance to the frightened Christians that such an attack “will never happen again” • Pray for those Christians who were injured, for those who have been left fearing for their safety and for all those who have lost possessions in the violence. Pray that they will be able to love and forgive their enemies and that their witness will open the eyes of those who persecute them.