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Egyptian Turmoil Felt By Coptic Christians In Oklahoma

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Deacon Fadel Iskander of the St. Peter and Paul Coptic Church. Deacon Fadel Iskander of the St. Peter and Paul Coptic Church.
Political protestors have targeted Coptic Christians in Egypt. Political protestors have targeted Coptic Christians in Egypt.
Church members fear for their friends and relatives experiencing the Egyptian uprising. Church members fear for their friends and relatives experiencing the Egyptian uprising.
BIXBY, Oklahoma -

The world has turned its eyes to Egypt where political turmoil has turned into blood shed. Rioting has left hundreds dead, and Coptic Christian churches are one of the targets.

The violence and pain is felt here in Green Country. 

Fadel Iskander is a deacon at the St. Peter and Paul Coptic Church in Bixby. He says the congregation has been glued to Egyptian television after protests and rioting broke out following the overthrow of the country's first democratically elected President - Mohammed Morsi.

"It is nerve racking to say the least," said Deacon Fadel Iskander. "We're scared, and we pray quite a bit." 

"It weighs very heavily on the members of the congregation; some of them have lost their churches back over there."

Iskander supports the overthrow of Morsi, and says so far, 60 Coptic churches in Egypt have been attacked. The deacon blames the Muslim Brotherhood - the group wanting to reinstatement the former President. 

"It's one million people trying to impose their will over 90 million people," he said. 

The turmoil started after security forces broke up two sit-ins by the Muslim Brotherhood earlier this week. Hundreds were killed, and since then, the death toll has only continued to climb.

"Since yesterday they cannot go to work, they cannot leave the house," said George Rezkalle, church member. 

George Rezakalle is talking about his parents who live in Egypt. He's been calling them every day. 

"They are just watching the TV 24/7 now," he said. 

Rezakalle says he can only speculate why the Coptic Christians are being targeted. 

"They know that when they attack the Christians, that the Christians will not attack them," he said. 

"The overwhelming majority of the Muslims live peacefully with the Christians, it's just those certain elements within the Brotherhood," said Deacon Fadel Iskander.

Iskander says another election is coming soon, but until then the congregation hopes their prayers will be answered. 

"We'll live peacefully with them, if they will live peacefully with us," the deacon said.

A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood has condemned the attacks on churches. Egyptian authorities say they are considering disbanding the Muslim Brotherhood, but have to explore the legal possibilities of doing so.

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