Baptist church torched in Egypt

Cairo pastor uses Facebook to alert the world that his Baptist brothers and sisters in a neighboring town were being attacked after the government's crackdown on Mohammed Morsi supporters.

By Jeff Brumley

A Baptist church is among at least 18 that were reportedly torched Wednesday by Egyptian supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

News reports say more than 500 have died since Wednesday morning when Egyptian security forces attacked Morsi supporters barricaded inside a Cairo mosque.

As troopers were concluding the operations, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Cairo began posting Facebook updates begging for prayers for Beni Mazar Baptist Church in Minya. Minya is located more than two hours south of Cairo.

“Pray: Baptist Church in Beni Mazar, Minya, has been attacked,” Mounir Sobhy Yacoub Malaty said in an update posted in Arabic and English Wednesday morning. Later he reported the “Baptist Church on fire.”

Malaty’s final post included a video and the words “Building of Beni Mazar Baptist Church after being burnt.” The video takes viewers on a tour of the charred insides of the church, where flames continue to burn in some places. The short video shows some of the structure standing, though gutted.

Comments flooded into the pastor’s page from around the world in a variety of languages. “Heavy heart,” one woman wrote. “God be with you all and keep you safe. We love you.”

The Christian Broadcasting Network today confirmed Beni Mazar Baptist Church in Minya as one at least 18 that were torched within six hours of the security crackdown.

USA Today and other news outlets also have reported widespread attacks on Christians in Egypt before, but especially after, the government action on Wednesday.

The congregation is a member of the Egypt Baptist Convention, which belongs to the Baptist World Alliance.

Other burned churches identified included Coptic, Orthodox and Catholic parishes.