Christians killed in a church fire in Egypt: Many children die

Christians killed in a church fire in Egypt: Many children die

Noriko Watanabe and Sawako Utsumi

Modern Tokyo Times

At least 41 Coptic Christians have died after a devastating fire broke out during the Divine Liturgy in the environs of Greater Cairo. Coptic worshippers at the Abu Sefein (Abu Sifin) Coptic Christian Church are in mourning – along with all Egyptians. 

It is known that many children are among the 41 Coptic Christians who died after an electrical malfunction set off a terrible fire. Hence, the government and major Sunni Muslim institutions are responding to the tragic event and are offering complete support. 

Al Ahram Online reports, “Forensic examination indicated that the fire broke out due to an electrical malfunction in an air conditioner on the church’s second floor, which comprised a number of classrooms, the Ministry of Interior said in a statement.”

The priest of this Coptic church, Father Abdel Masih Bakhit, was also killed with his parishioners. Hence, the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center provided grim news about the devastating fire. 

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said, “I directed all concerned state agencies and institutions to take all the required measures immediately to deal with the incident and its impacts and provide all forms of health care to the injured.” 

President El-Sisi continued, “I offer my sincere condolences to the families of the innocent victims who went to be with their Lord in one of the houses in which he is worshipped.”

The Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb (Al-Azhar) expressed his sincere condolences and sympathy to Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Church. Al-Azhar and other leading Sunni Muslim institutions expressed their shock and offered condolences to the Christian community of Egypt. 

The Guardian reports, “The church reportedly included a nursery for children. Witnesses described how people rushed into the burning building to rescue those trapped, but were soon overwhelmed by the heat and smoke.”

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