January 7, 2010: Coptic Christian massacre in Egypt

On this day in 2010 Coptic Christians exiting a church where they were celebrating Christmas were gunned down: in all six were killed.

NAG HAMMADI, EGYPT – You have to be a particularly heinous terrorist to target those celebrating the birth of their Saviour with death.

When you look at Islamist terrorism as much as I do you would think that you have seen it all. From the catastrophic attack on 9/11 to thousands of other incidents in dozens of countries over the past two generations or so, exposure to the brutality and violence would make one immune to the horror.

Or so one would think.

The more I write about terrorism in this series the more I come across acts of depravity carried out ‘in the name of God’. Each one has its victims, the dead, the injured, the grieving. It simply does not end.

On this day

Today’s attack was particularly heinous. In 2010 Coptic Christians exiting a church where they were celebrating Christmas (in the Coptic Christian church Christmas on January 7) were gunned down: in all six were killed.

Egyptian officials claimed the gunmen were seeking revenge for an alleged rape of a Muslim girl by a Coptic man (I smell terrorists here and Egypt has long underreported terrorist intentions). Three Berbers were arrested the following day: one was sentenced to death a year later (the other two received life sentences).

A driving car swerved near me, so I took the back door. By the time I shook hands with someone at the gate, I heard the mayhem, lots of machine-gun shots.

Bishop Kirollos

That these crimes took place on the most celebrated day in the Christian calendar, the birth of that faith’s founder/son of God is what make this really hard to understand. Given that the Muslims (terrorists?) who did the deed recognize Jesus as the second most important prophet (after Muhammad) beggars disbelief. It must take an inordinately evil mind to shoot worshipers coming out of a church. On Christmas Day.

I fear I will have other events of equal horror to share with you over the months to come. I would prefer for this series to come to a natural end as I run out of attacks to write about. Alas that day will never come.


By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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