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  • » 08/28/2013, 00.00

    EGYPT

    Minya: schools, churches and orphanages burnt to erase all traces of a Christian presence



    In a raid that followed Morsi's ouster, Islamists particularly raged against children's toys. The facilities were also open to children from rural Muslim families.

    Minya (AsiaNews) - With at least 20 attacks against churches, Christian schools and orphanages, Minya Governorate is the part of ​​Egypt where Islamists struck with greatest violence and brutality.

    "The Islamists", one resident said, "burnt and destroyed everything. Their goal was to erase all the traces of a Christian presence; even the orphanages were looted and destroyed."

    After storming the Prince Tadros el-Shatbi Church, the armed Islamic extremists turned their attention to two homes for disadvantaged children located near the parish church, residents said.

    They stole church offerings, clothes, and children's games before torching the entire building. The fire lasted over 5 hours.

    "Fortunately," the source said, "the children were taken to safety before the arrival of the Islamists."

    Like other Christians sites, the two homes that housed hundreds of orphans are now a pile of rubble.

    The criminals did not only destroy the two orphanages but also the homes of some families working for the orphanages as well as a nearby art gallery that sold objects and artefacts made by orphans to raise money.

    Shurkri Huzayn, 40, is the orphanage guard. He, too, grew up as an orphan at the facility. He witnessed the Salafist attack.

    "What kind of people are they? Even unbelievers would not attack an orphanage," he said.

    Islamists raged particularly against anything that symbolised the Christianity and modernity, including computers.

    After they left the building, the terrorists burnt nearby shops and schools, such as the St Joseph Coptic School, which is run by nuns, a pharmacy and a restaurant. Anti-Christian graffiti were sprayed on the walls along a road.

    A few days after the massacre, the guard said that Copts wrote a message on the wall of the orphanage in response to the militants' insults that read, "Despite of what you did, we ask God to forgive you," and "God exists."

    According to a teacher at St Joseph, the attack will have a major impact on Christians' daily life.

    "The teachers," she noted, "do not know when the school year will start. The school is open to Christians and Muslims and has taught hundreds of children from rural areas, many of whom were housed in the two orphanages."

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    See also

    29/08/2013 EGYPT
    "We live in fear of more violence," says Indian Jesuit
    Head of the local Jesuit school, the priest describes how the Christian community is targeted by Islamists on a daily basis even though three quarters of its pupils are Muslim. Minya residents complain that things are out of control in their governatorate as Islamists vent their rage indiscriminately.

    20/08/2014 EGYPT
    Attacks on Egyptian churches a year later
    In an interview, the principal of a Jesuit school in Minya talks about "an anniversary that the world wanted to forget." Today, "the situation has improved" in the city, especially in the relations between Muslims and Christians. The Islamic community "reassures us of the need of our presence here."

    23/08/2017 19:02:00 EGYPT
    Egyptian police prevent Copts from celebrating Mass in Al Forn

    Worshippers used a building as a temporary church to pray. On Sunday, police surrounded it, preventing people from entering because it did have an official permit. On the same day, in Alexandria, a Coptic woman was stabbed as she left a church.



    09/03/2011 EGYPT
    Clashes between Copts and Muslims continue, six dead and 42 injured
    Violence breaks out during a demonstration organised by Copts to demand the rebuilding of a Church demolished by Muslims in Soul last Saturday. The army intervenes to stop the violence. In Upper Egypt, a Christian hospital for the disable is at risk of demolition. A number of Christian-owned homes are torn down.

    14/09/2013 EGYPT
    Minya: wedding breathes new life into church destroyed by Islamists
    Mina and Justina are two young members of the Prince Tadros Coptic Orthodox Parish Church. Following their insistence and that of their families, local priests agreed to let them use the church made unsafe by an Islamist attack. In order to create a festive atmosphere for the newlyweds, the community decorated the interior of the building at their own expense. "From childhood, this was our church," the couple said. "This is where we grew up", where the "priests taught us to pray . . . . Now we are happy."



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