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    » 03/05/2011, 00.00

    EGYPT

    Muslims attack Coptic community, a priest and three deacons missing



    The attack occurred last night in Soul, a town some 30 kilometres south of the Egyptian capital. Twelve thousand Christians are placed under curfew, waiting for soldiers held back by fear. The violence was sparked by a relationship between a Coptic man and a Muslim woman.

    Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A priest and three deacons are missing following an attack last night by about 4,000 Muslims in the town of Soul (30 kilometres south of Cairo) against the local Coptic community. The mob attacked Christian homes and set fire to the Saints Mina and George Coptic Church, ostensibly because of a relationship between a Christian man and a Muslim woman.

    Witnesses report the mob prevented the fire brigade from entering the village. Father Yosha, the priest of the small parish, and three deacons have been reported missing with different accounts of their fate. Some believe they died in the fire that devastated the church building. Others say they are still held by Muslims in one of the parish buildings.

    When the Muslim mob attacked the church, they exploded five or six gas cylinders inside the church, desecrated the cross and pulled down the domes.

    Soldiers stationed in the village of Bromil, seven kilometres from Soul, initially refused to go into Soul. When the army finally sent troops to the village, Muslim elders sent them away, saying that everything was "in order now." A curfew was imposed on the 12,000 Christians of the town.

    The incident was sparked by the involvement of a Coptic man, Ashraf Iskander, with a Muslim woman. The father of the Muslim woman was killed by his cousin because he did not kill his daughter to preserve the family's honour. This in turn led the woman's brother to avenge the death of their father by killing the cousin. Muslims then blamed the murders on Christians.

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    See also

    20/03/2012 EGYPT
    Tens of thousands line up for Shenouda's funeral on day of national mourning
    Government authorities are showing great consideration for the death of the Egyptian Coptic pope who will be buried in the monastery where Sadat placed him under house arrest. Three people have been crushed by grieving crowds with another 137 injured. In honour of the late patriarch, a Christian and a Muslim family end a feud that cost 11 lives.

    27/06/2011 EGYPT
    Eight houses burnt as anti-Christian violence rises in Upper Egypt
    More than 200 Muslims torch eight Christian homes on Saturday morning in the Upper Egyptian village of Awlad Khalaf (Suhaj), after the local Christian community was accused of planning to build an unauthorised church. More Coptic girls are being abducted and forced to convert to Islam. Human rights activists complain about poor security in the country’s poorer areas following the fall of the Mubarak regime.

    04/03/2013 EGYPT
    Christians and Muslims protest in Cairo against anti-minority violence
    Since January, Salafists and other Muslim radicals have attacked Christians in four locations, setting fire to churches and homes. In Bani Suef, a court sent to prison two minors as well as a woman and her seven children on issues related to religion. In Alexandria, Salafist gunmen kill five men suspected of building a church.

    15/02/2012 EGYPT
    Sharqia: Church and homes set on fire by some 2,000 Muslim extremists
    Clashes in the village of Meet Bashar ended last night after the mediation of some Muslim Brotherhood leaders. For Fr Rafic Greiche, the victory by Islamist parties in the elections has increased anti-Christian attacks.

    20/04/2009 EGYPT
    Two Coptic Christians killed on the eve of Orthodox Pascha
    The murder took place in the village of Hagaza in southern Egypt. The two were returning from celebrations at their local church. A third Christian was seriously injured. The attackers are believed to be Muslims of the area. The police state that this was a vendetta between rival clans.



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