The British commentator Piers Morgan has criticised American and other world media for not giving enough coverage to the ‘war’ on Christianity waged by Islamic extremists.
Morgan, who co-presents ITV’s Good Morning Britain, was speaking in the wake of the bombings of two Egyptian churches on Palm Sunday that left at least 47 people dead and 100 more injured.
Speaking to Fox News, Morgan said that the latest attack on Egypt’s Coptic Christians was ‘unbelievably significant’ and that ISIS was carrying out ‘a genocidal attack’ on Christianity across the Middle East.
‘You know, if you look at what ISIS really stands for, what they are carrying out in the Middle East, and in Egypt in particular, is a kind of genocidal attack on Christians and Christianity,’ he said.
‘They want Christianity eradicated, and they want to convert all Muslims to their crusade, they want it to be a Holy War, and they want Christians gone.’
He added: ‘I don’t think that narrative is getting the attention it should get in the American media, and I have to say in other media around the world.’
The bombings were the latest in a string of attacks on Coptic Christians in recent years.
Islamic State claimed that two Egyptian suicide bombers were responsible for the blasts and threatened further attacks.
Egyptian Christian leaders have been warning of inadequate protection in the face of attacks. Bishop Angaelos, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, warned before Sunday’s bombings: ‘At the highest level, a lot of attention and care is given to this issue. But the problem is at the local security level.’
He told the Guardian: ‘Reports [of attacks] are not taken seriously or investigated robustly. There are a lack of prosecutions and people not being held to account. That almost reinforces a sense of impunity.’
The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will carry out a trip to Egypt later this month.
The Pope’s visit is ‘very significant’ for both Catholic and Orthodox communities, said Bishop Angaelos. ‘It’s a wonderful chance for Francis to practically show support for Christians in Egypt and in the Middle East.’
The Bishop has said that lists of churches and individuals have been released as ‘desirable targets’ by terrorist groups. ‘Innocent men, women and children have had their lives brutally and tragically ended for no other reason except that they are Christian.’
Last December, 29 people were killed in a bombing at St Peter’s church, near the main Coptic Christian cathedral in Cairo.
In February, 40 Christian families fled Al Arish in northern Sinai after the murder of seven people.
According to Jantzen Garnett, an expert on ISIS with the Navanti Group analytics company, it was not until December 2016 that the Islamic State began a systematic campaign to target Coptic Christians in Egypt.
He told Agence France-Presse: ‘As the Islamic State is squeezed in Iraq and Syria it often conducts spectacular attacks elsewhere in an attempt to regain the narrative, boost morale and win recruits.’
Security is expected to be tight for the Papal visit, which includes a speech to an international peace conference and a celebration of Mass with the small Catholic community in Cairo.
Angaelos said: ‘The world we live in now means there is always a risk. Someone of the profile of Pope Francis – both the head of a church and a head of state – means there will be security protocols in place to protect and safeguard him.’