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» 05/20/2013
EGYPT
Egypt, more attacks on Coptic Orthodox community, two churches set on fire
The two attacks targeted the church of St. Mary in a suburb of Alexandria and that of the small village of Menpal in Upper Egypt. In subsequent clashes one person died following a heart attack.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Egyptian Coptic community faces a new escalation of attacks by Islamists. On 17 May, two churches were attacked with Molotov cocktails in the district of Dakhela, west of Alexandria, Egypt, and Menpal in Upper Egypt.

In Alexandria over 20 thousand Muslims attacked the church of St. Mary setting fire to the entrance of the building and shattering windows. A man died of a heart attack in the attack. In response to the violence, hundreds of Copts left their homes to create a human wall around the building. According to witnesses some Islamists armed with pistols and knives fired on the crowd, causing some injuries.

At the origin of the clashes is a dispute between two neighbors. Basem Ramzy Michael, a Coptic Christian, is reported to have behaved inappropriately towards the sister of Alloshy Hamada, a Muslim with a criminal record. In a short time the dispute between the two erupted into a sectarian clash.

A similar incident occurred last May 13, in the village of Menbal, Matay district, north of the province of Minya, where a Muslim mob stormed the church called the Tadros el-Mashreki and assaulted one person inside. The assailants threw stones at the building, looted Christian shops nearby and burned cars. The Coptic minority has been threatened with expulsion from the village. Once again the violence was sparked by a trivial quarrel between two young people. Some young Muslims are reported to have made advances to a group of Coptic girls, as they entered the church. Irritated at having been ignored the group waited for the young Christian girls to leave the Church and threw bags filled with urine at them. The young people were rescued by some Christians peers who have started a heated argument with Muslims. As in other cases, the news spread across the village. In a short time a crowd of Islamists rallied in front of the church, forcing young people to take refuge inside.

Ehab Ramzy, a Coptic Christian, prosecutor in the province and former member of parliament, said Menbal has a Muslim majority, while Manshiet Menbal, 10 kilometers away, has Coptic majority. "The Christians of the two villages - he explains - have nothing to do with the fight that took place in Manshiet Menbal. The young people were attacked just because they are Christian." Two young Muslim men were arrested by police in Menbal. In the coming days there will be a reconciliation meeting between the two communities. "Now - he adds - the security forces are trying to arrest some young Copts. They have become a bargaining chip to seek reconciliation."

AsiaNews sources underline that the attacks against the Coptic community are now a daily occurrence and are being ignored by the police, who because of the climate of chaos, let communities resolve disputes among themselves, although this can result in dead or wounded. The most serious incident took place on April 7 in front of the Cathedral of St. Mark in Cairo, where a group of Islamists attacked funerals of four Christians killed in sectarian clashes that took place on April 5 in the district of Khosous, on the outskirts of the capital, with stones and Molotov cocktails. The assault, which took place before the eyes of the police, left two dead and over 80 injured. A church building caught fire.

 


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See also
08/02/2012 EGYPT
Cairo, 100 Coptic families flee after clashes between Christians and Muslims
03/18/2010 EGYPT
Egyptian police arrest 13 Copts, victims of attack by Islamic extremists
11/25/2010 EGYPT
Two Copts killed in the battle for the "church of the Pyramids"
11/02/2013 EGYPT - ISLAM
Cairo, Muslim Brotherhood violence targets Church of Virgin Mary in Zaytoun
10/23/2013 EGYPT
Cairo, police fled before the attack on the church of the Virgin Mary

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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