Cairo (AsiaNews) - More than a hundred Christian families have fled El
Arish in the Sinai after receiving death threats from Islamist groups following
the fall of Mohamed Morsi. On 6 July, a 39-year-old priest, Fr
Mina Haroan Abboud, was killed. On 11 July, the body of another
Christian, a merchant from Sheikh Zowayd, was found decapitated. He had been kidnapped a few days
Coptic churches in northern Sinai have cancelled all services and meetings, except
for a Mass on Friday. No Christians
are left in the towns of Rafah and Sheikh Zowayd.
The Sinai Peninsula has always been a home for Islamist groups, many of
them linked to Hamas in Gaza. For decades, they have fought against the
Egyptian army as it tried to stop weapon supplies and smuggling into the Gaza
Morsi and the Brotherhood, the army had reduced pressure on them but now the
military is back in force following the fall of Hosni Mubarak's successor.
In the few days since Morsi's removal, the Sinai has seen dozens of
attacks against police stations, army checkpoints, and individual members of
the Armed Forces. But
attacks have also been carried out against the Christians, "guilty"
of supporting Morsi's fall.
On 5 July, a Jihadist group using the name Ansar al-Shari'a in the Land
of Kinaanah (i.e. Egypt) issued a statement promising to respond to the "war
against Islam in Egypt," a war waged by "secularists, atheists, Mubarak
loyalists, Christians, security forces and the leaders of the Egyptian Army."
In its statement, the group describes democracy as "blasphemous" in assuming
one of God's prerogative and warns of impending "massacres of Muslims in
Christians, especially Patriarch Tawadros, are accused of conniving with
the army to remove Mohamed Morsi.
Patriarch Tawadros and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Mosque Ahmed al-Tayeb were
present at the ceremony in which Morsi's removal was announced.
In many pro-Morsi manifestations organised recently by the Muslim
Brotherhood, al-Tayeb is branded as a "traitor."
Coptic patriarch has also been accused of betraying Egypt. Three
days ago in Heliopolis, at least 2,000 young members of the Muslim Brotherhood
wrote "Down with Tawadros" on the walls of a (Catholic) church during
a demonstration that lasted several hours.
likely that the Coptic minority will be scapegoated for President Morsi's fall and
the Brotherhood's loss of power.
are high," Christian sources in Egypt told AsiaNews,
also because the Brotherhood, aided by infiltrated jihadists, is planning a
series of anti-Christian terrorist attacks.
ago, the Christian village of Dabaaya was attacked by a group of armed men who
burnt 23 houses and killed four Christians. One
of them, Emile Nessim, had worked hard to collect the signatures for the
Tamarod (rebel) movement that led to Morsi's fall.
July, the Mar Mina Church in Port Said was riddled with bullets by a group of
recent days, a group of Islamists drew crosses on some shops owned by Egyptian
Copts in Minya (250 km south of Cairo). People
are afraid that this 'Nazi-style' gesture might be the prelude of a terrorist
attack against the targeted buildings.
sources note however that in general, after Morsi's removal, there has been a
greater sense of reconciliation between Muslims and Christians, "a stronger
solidarity against extremism and for national unity".