26 September 2016
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    » 03/13/2010, 00.00

    EGYPT

    Crowd of 3 thousand Muslims attack a Coptic Christian community, 25 injured



    Faithful were gathered in prayer when attack occurred. There were four priests, one deacon and 400 parishioners in the building, women and children also targeted. Fundamentalists fury, egged on by the imam, unleashed by the rumour that the Christians are building a new church. In reality it is a hospice.

    Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The toll from an attack on the Coptic Christian community that took place yesterday in the north-western province of Mersa Matrouh, Egypt is 25 wounded, including women and children. A crowd of around 3 thousand Muslims attacked the faithful gathered in prayer in a building adjoining the local church. The fundamentalists fury, encouraged by the imam, was sparked by the rumour that the Christians have begun to build a new place of worship.  

    Around 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon, the Muslims - a group of Bedouins and Salafi fanatics - started throwing stones at a construction site, which they believe in reality will be a new church. Local witnesses reported that security forces present were not sufficient to contain the attack. The police fired tear gas and arrested a dozen people, including Muslims and Christians. Only this morning, reinforcements arrived from Alexandria, thanks to which the Coptic faithful trapped inside the building could return to their homes.  

    At the moment of the attack the Christian prayer house contained four priests, one deacon and about 400 parishioners. Christians say that the building under construction, in fact, is a nursing home and said they were "terrified" by the latest attack. The local imam Shaikh Khamees intervention during Friday prayers has helped to foment the anger of Muslims. He emphasized the duty to fight against the "enemies" of Islam and stressed that "we do not tolerate the Christian presence in our area."

    Reverend Matta Zakarya confirms that this morning there was a summit between the leaders of the local church, state security forces and even some Muslims. "The Coptic are scared - he stresses - especially women and children who were inside the building and witnessed the assault."    

    In Egypt, the Coptic Christian community is about 10% of the population in a country with an overwhelming Muslim majority, which discriminates against the Christian community. It is the victim of violence, caused by a sharp rise of Islamic fundamentalism. Sometimes the basis of many attacks there are disputes over land ownership and disputes for women, but they soon become sectarian clashes.

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    See also

    27/11/2008 ISLAM - EGYPT
    Thousands of Muslims attack Coptic church in Cairo
    On the day of the inauguration of a church in the suburbs of the Egyptian capital, Islamic demonstrators have attacked the building, forcing about 800 faithful to barricade themselves inside the church.

    07/01/2010 EGYPT
    Nag Hamadi: armed commando attacks Coptic Christians, seven dead and three wounded
    The incident happened at midnight last night, after Christmas Mass which the Coptic Church celebrates Christmas on January 7. The attack was revenge for an alleged case of sexual assault against a twelve year old, which occurred last November.

    01/01/2011 EGYPT-ISLAM
    Massacre of Christians in Alexandria. Car bomb explodes outside a church
    The attack was carried out shortly after midnight on January 1, 2011, as mass was ending. The death toll is currently of 21 dead and 43 wounded. A possible connection with threats from Al Qaeda after the massacre of the Syriac Catholic cathedral in Baghdad.

    16/02/2013 EGYPT
    Fayoum: Islamic extremists attack Coptic church, wounding pastor
    A crowd, incited by a Salafi leader, attacked the church of Saint Georgas. The Cross on the dome destroyed, part of the interior and the sacred images devastated. The police witnessed the violence, but did not intervene. Fr. Domadios saved by a Muslim family. In recent months, extremists had opened a hole in the wall to "monitor" his activities.

    29/01/2014 EGYPT
    Cairo, Coptic Orthodox church attacked. One dead.
    A group of Islamists attacked the church of the Virgin Mary: a police officer shot down in the battle. One of the assailants was apprehended by residents, the second was arrested by the police later that evening.



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