The number of major bomb attacks on churches in Egypt has fallen compared to the previous two years when explosions struck at the heart of the Coptic Christian community, killing and maiming Mass-goers at the country’s most important cathedrals in Cairo and Alexandria.(1) That said, several egregious attacks did take place, including the November 2018 attack on a bus carrying Christian pilgrims.(2) The decline in violent acts suggested progress was being made in President al-Sisi’s stated determination to deal with Daesh (ISIS), which claimed responsibility for many of the attacks. In January 2019 a bomb plot was foiled when Imam Saad Askar reacted promptly to mosque-goers’ reports of suspicious activity near the Virgin Mary and Abu Seifin Church, Nasr City.(3) More than a week earlier, a police officer was killed defusing a bomb near a church in another of Cairo’s suburbs.(4) Meanwhile, protests against Church buildings continue to occur – a problem which has apparently worsened since the government made it easier to secure legal approval for church buildings.(5) Coptic Christian women and girls continue to be abducted for forced conversion and marriage.
The killing of 22 Sunday Massgoers and the maiming