Coptic Priest Found Murdered in Egypt
Father Daoud Boutros, an Orthodox Coptic priest, has become one of the latest victims of the continuing violence against Christians in Egypt.
A neighbor, who had been asked by the priest’s daughter to visit his apartment because she had been unable to contact him by telephone for two days, discovered the priest’s mutilated body in his home on February 23, 2011. According to a report released by Catholic Bishop Kyrillos William, Fr. Boutros had been stabbed 22 times and beheaded. In addition, a safe in the priest’s apartment had been broken into and emptied of its contents.
Amid varied speculations, many local villagers primarily believed that the priest had been murdered as a result of an ongoing conflict between local Coptic Christians and Muslims, who claim that the priest was responsible for encouraging one of his parishioners to commit a sacrilegious act against Islam more than two years ago. The priest had also been receiving threats from Islamists who had accused him of proselytizing to Muslims.
However, the latest report from the region indicates that the Muslim Brotherhood, a militant anti-Christian organization, has taken responsibility for the murder, which was intended to serve as a deadly “example” to other Christians.
The St. Bishoy monastery where Fr. Boutros had served recently came under attack by Egyptian armed forces, who had issued an ultimatum to the monks on February 21 to demolish the newly erected security fence surrounding the monastery. On February 24, the army stormed the main entrance with five tanks and a bulldozer and subsequently opened fire on the monks, wounding two priests and six workers.
Fr. Boutros’ murder and the St. Bishoy monastery attack have ignited new protests by thousands of monks and other Coptic Christians, who have already been incited by anti-Christian violence that has taken place in recent weeks throughout Egypt.
Fr. Boutros was the parish priest of a Christian Freedom International co-worker, who recently partnered with CFI to serve the persecuted church in Egypt. CFI extends condolences to the family, friends, and parishioners of Fr. Daoud Boutros, and asks Christians everywhere to remember to pray for the safety of Coptic believers in Egypt.