The National Middle Eastern Presbyterian Caucus has condemned an attack on Christmas Eve worshipers in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, that killed eight Coptic Christians.

The Jan. 6 (Orthodox Christmas Eve) drive-by shooting also killed a Muslim security guard and wounded nine others. Two days later, police arrested three men suspected of carrying out the attack.

The full text of the National Middle Eastern Presbyterian Caucus’ statement, signed by moderator the Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel and the Rev. Fuad Khouri, chair of the caucus’ Peacemaking Committee:

A statement on behalf of the terrorized Christian community in Nag Hammadi, Egypt

The National Middle Eastern Presbyterian Caucus, moderators and members have been horrified, bewildered and deeply grieved by the violent attack on the Christian Community of Nag Hammadi which took place on January 6, 2010, as the worshipers were leaving the church following their Christmas Eve worship service.

We as a Caucus denounce such premeditated aggression that claimed the lives of many innocent civilians and left many more injured to suffer yet the consequences of such a crime.  We emphatically deplore and condemn in the strongest terms such unjustifiable acts of violence that dehumanize and terrorize people for no reason except that they are peaceful Christians.

We call upon the officials in Egypt and its government to intervene immediately and provide protection and safeguard the Christian Community making sure that no such aggression would ever happen again.  Furthermore, we as a caucus call upon the government of Egypt to conduct a thorough investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Therefore, the caucus affirms their support and solidarity with our sisters and brothers and joins with all those who are concerned about the Christian Community to ensure their safety, liberty, and well being.  As Christians who trace our heritage to the witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we reject violence and aggression, and prayerfully express our sincere concerns for the peace and welfare of all Egyptians regardless of their religious affiliation and ethnicity.