Egypt’s Coptic Christians celebrated Christmas despite the heightened security put into place by the government who feared an Islamic attack.
ABCNews.com reports that Egyptian police searched more than 300 churches in Egypt’s captial, Cairo, looking for explosive devices. Police also set up roadblocks in front of churches and temporarily banned vehicles from idling near churches.
These measures were taken in order to prevent an attack on Egypt’s Christians on a holiday that would find many Christians attending church services.
According to ABCNews.com, militant attacks have increased after the military overthrew the government of President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.
Egypt’s current president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, is reportedly much friendlier toward Egypt’s Christian minority.
“We have been late in restoring and fixing what has been burned. Everything will be fixed. ... Please accept our apologies for what happened," said el-Sissi while speaking to Christian crowds at Cairo's St. Mark Cathedral.
The very presence of an Egyptian president in a church is rare. Many Christian Egyptians, who make up 10 percent of the country’s population, are optimistic about el-Sissi’s government.
However, trials remain for Egypt’s Christians. Some Muslims believe Christians conspired with the military to overthrow Morsi’s regime which was more sympathetic to Muslims.
The heightened security measures taken to protect Christians by el-Sissi’s government have some Egyptian Christians hoping that discrimination against them is coming to an end, but others are less optimistic, believing that nothing has drastically changed for Christians under el-Sissi’s government.
Publication date: January 7, 2016