On Palm Sunday, two suicide bombers attacked churches in Tanta, Egypt killing about 44 people. In a country that is largely Sunni Muslim, Christians have always felt like a minority and have been worried for their safety. These minority Christians were some of President Sisi’s most vocal supporters but now they are worried if he can really protect them against Muslim extremists. Mr. Sisi had already promised better security in churches, but that has hardly stopped suicide attacks. At one of the churches, the suicide bomber was able to get around security and blew himself up near the alter killing at least 27 people and injuring about 44 more.
This attack caused concern for the scheduled visit of Pope Francis in late April. When he visits, he will see a country that has a wedge between Islam and Christianity that has only been increasing with these attacks and failure of safety from President Sisi. The visit of Pope Francis is one of many efforts in trying to forge a stronger relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and Muslim leaders.
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I think that the strained relationship in Egypt is concerning. The concern of the Christians in Egypt is very real, they do not feel safe in churches are unsure if President Sisi will be able to provide them with adequate security. It will be interesting to see what the president will do in response to his once very strong supporters becoming less sympathetic towards him.