SAT-7 REPORTS ON THE TWO TRAGIC ATTACKS IN EGYPT
Palm Sunday is a day of celebration, beginning the week of Easter. However, for Egypt, this day was marked by the bloodshed of innocent Christians after the church bombings in Tanta and Alexandria.
A field report about the blasts was aired on Wednesday, 12 April 2017 on SAT-7 ARABIC. The SAT-7 crew went to Tanta on the day of the tragic events and spoke to survivors and eyewitnesses.
“We saw this man enter and walk up to the front row of the church. Our friend was about to say that he suspected that the man was wearing an explosive belt. Before he managed to finish his sentence, the explosion happened,” a witness said.
“Some of the victims were innocent children, members of the choir, at the top of their fields in their studies, youthful, and full of promise for the future. They are all dead,” added another eyewitness.
SAT-7 CREW MEMBER SHARES HIS TESTIMONY
SAT-7 Egypt Producer Ramy Samir took a SAT-7 film crew to the church in Tanta. When they arrived, the security officers denied them access to enter the church. Eventually, they allowed the team access after church members who knew the channel encouraged security to let them in.
Samir recalls his experience:
“When we entered, the bodies of the victims were removed, but there were fragments of body parts on the floor and over the ceiling. There was a strong smell of blood in the church mixed with explosives. I usually cover these kinds of events and, after many experiences, I generally manage to keep my composure. This time, however, was different. I couldn’t help it. I was very moved.”
The crew too were aware of very mixed feelings about the attack after speaking with several eyewitnesses. Some people were angry, feeling that Coptic Christians are being persecuted and the government is doing very little to protect them. Others felt consoled and believe that the martyrs are now in heaven.
“One eyewitness mentioned that, at the time of the explosion, the choir was singing a special Coptic hymn called Evlogiménos – ‘Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,’” adds Samir.
SUPPORT FROM OTHER CHURCH LEADERS
The report included interviews with pastors and clergy from the three largest Christian denominations represented in Egypt. They came together on SAT-7 to speak about the tragic events and to offer an encouraging message to the survivors and families of victims.
“God is in control, and He sees all that is happening,” says Pastor Moheb Melad of the Kasr ElDobara Church.
“What we are going through in the region is very difficult and painful. It can break any believer. But God wants us to continue to live on earth with our heavenly identities. I believe God can lift us up and fill our hearts with peace that surpasses all understanding. Our God conquered death. For us, death is merely a passage to eternity where we can be with Him.”
Father Botros Rushdy, Priest of the Saint Samaan Church, offered condolences and assured viewers that:
“We were created for the glory of God’s name, and Jesus called us to be salt and light here on the earth. I want to send my condolences to all those who are hurting due to the recent events. Our children, who were martyred for the sake of Jesus Christ, are dressed in white and have crowns of gold on their heads.”
Milad Shehata, Director of the Franciscan Centre, says no words of condolence can do justice to what has happened, but he asks for grace from Jesus Christ:
“We ask Him to keep us steadfast in faith and in the love we have for Him. Despite all this pain and difficulty, we can see in the faces of the families of the martyrs, a true Christian life. They are the persevering church that declares the kingdom of God.”