Canadian Coptic Church destroyed in ‘suspicious’ fire, latest in string of church fires
Another Canadian church was burnt down on Monday, just days after the same church was the target of an attempted arson.
St. George’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Surrey, British Columbia, was destroyed in a fire that Canadian police deemed “suspicious”. The church is the latest of a number of Canadian churches that have been destroyed by fire in recent weeks, with police investigating numerous incidents such as potential arson.
Police said St. George’s Church was the target of an arson attempt on Wednesday, when a suspect was checked in on surveillance footage apparently trying to light the burning church door.
“The loss is heartbreaking, disappointing and devastating for the congregation and the community,” said Nancy Khalil, whose family helped build St. George’s Shrine. Vancouver Sun. “It was our home. We go there for more than just service, we go two to four times a week. We got married there, our children grew up there.
Bishop Mina, Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Mississauga, Vancouver and Western Canada, has asked BC Premier John Horgan to investigate.
“The timing of this fire… raises many questions about what authorities did to protect our church, especially given the attempt against the same church last Wednesday,” Mina said.
The fires, as well as the vandalism against various churches, began following the discovery of anonymous graves in former schools for Aboriginal Canadians run by churches. About 150,000 children attended the “Indian Residential School System” for 120 years, and a Canadian commission concluded in 2015 that the school system had perpetrated a “cultural genocide” against the indigenous population.