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  • Yusuf Serag El-Din

In Support Of St. George Coptic Orthodox Church

July 22, 2021

SURREY, B.C. - On July 19, 2021, A fire broke out at Surrey's St. George Coptic Orthodox Church. Surrey RCMP has confirmed there was an attempted arson at the church previously, and that the investigation is ongoing. It is suspected that this fire may be a misguided attempt of retaliation for the residential schools forced upon the Indigenous Peoples of Canada.

We condemn these unacceptable acts and offer our sincerest thoughts and prayers to the Orthodox community. We echo the words of Bishop Mina of the St. George Coptic Orthodox Church when we call on “the Honourable Premier John Horgan and all authorities in the Province of British Columbia to immediately and expeditiously conclude this investigation.” According to the Catholic News Agency, The Surrey RCMP said the two fires were “suspicious,” but added that “there is currently no evidence linking these two separate investigations.”

Assistant General Secretary of the B.C. Muslim Association, Yusuf Siraj was quoted as saying, “The Muslim community, and especially the Arab community stands with our brothers and sisters in the Orthodox Chrisitan community. Like many of the congress of St. George Coptic Orthodox Church, I myself am of Egyptian origin and feel shock and horror at seeing a house of worship destroyed in this way”.

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said to Now-Leader on Tuesday “It’s a serious situation and we need to deal with it to see whether we can get it corrected”

A community vigil was also held in solidarity for the church and was attended by Mayor of Surrey, Doug McCallum, Surrey Centre MP, Randeep Sarai, and members of the clergy.

An attack on one faith is an attack on us all. We as a community must support our Coptic Orthodox friends and offer a hand of allyship. An online fundraiser was started in order to raise funds for the rebuilding effort and to help “a little in fire damage repair”. To date, the fundraiser has raised about nine thousand dollars.

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