Egypt’s Coptic Christians are in a state of mourning after a suicide bomber killed at least 25 people at a Cairo church on Sunday.

“Egypt always tends to rally around Christians at moments like this,” said Jayson Casper, CT’s Middle East correspondent. “But over time, [ISIS is] trying to hammer and hammer and hammer the Christians in Egypt and put so much pressure on the internal government that it itself may collapse.”

But even when persecution/suffering does come, the Coptic Church “is equipped to deal with it,” said Casper.

“They can say, ‘This has always happened to us in our history. It is how God has treated us and he perseveres with us through it.’”

While the attack was the worst to target Copts since the 2011 New Year’s bombing of a church in Alexandria that killed 23 people, the population has been the victim of sectarian violence for years. In 2015, ISIS, who also claimed responsibility for the latest attack, beheaded 21 Coptic Christians in Libya.

Casper joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli this week to discuss the fascinating and important history of Coptic Christians, how the Egyptian church relates to a changing government, and why this most recent attack is unique.

Additional Reading

Who are the Copts?

Christianity Today’s coverage of Coptic Christians