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  • » 08/29/2013, 00.00

    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.

    Minya (AsiaNews) - "When they march in front of our church during demonstrations organised by the Muslim Brotherhood, protesters are amazed that the building is still there," Fr Bimal Kerketta told AsiaNews.

    Originally from India, the priest has been in Egypt for ten years working as the principal of the school run by the Jesuit Fathers in Minya.

    "Each day, they gather in front of the building to shout slogan of intimidation. I fear that tomorrow's event will lead to fresh acts of violence."

    Minya Governorate, which is located on the Nile south of Cairo, felt the brunt of the Islamist wrath following Mohammed Morsi's removal from power.

    Many local sources describe a city out of control and left to fend for itself.

    "Fundamentalists have burnt and destroyed everything," a resident told AsiaNews. "Their aim is to remove all traces of a Christian presence here. Even orphanages have been looted."

    The Islamist rage fell especially on Christian schools and churches, but also on museums and anything that stood for modernity. One of the country's main museums of ancient Egyptian art is located in Minya and was recently damaged and looted, with about a thousand pieces stolen.

    For the authorities, some members of the Brotherhood were among the thugs that attacked the building.

    Since 30 June, when the President Mohammed Morsi was ousted, at least 12 churches have been torched and destroyed in Minya alone.

    The number of buildings affected goes up to 20 if orphanages and other Christian-run facilities are considered.

    Islamists often strike at random and indiscriminately, ignoring the fact that at least one of the buildings to which they set fire was open to Egyptians of both confessions.

    "Ours is an Arab school, from kindergarten to middle school," said Fr Bimal, who has been in Minya for five years. "Seventy-five per cent of our pupils are Muslim."

     

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    See also

    28/08/2013 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.

    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."

    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."

    02/03/2011 EGYPT
    Minya: Copts protest after governor decides to tear down Church building
    Some 10,000 Copts march against the decision taken by the governor of Minya, southern Egypt, to demolish a five-storey building used a centre for the disabled. Shouting “Go, go after your master, [Mubarak],” they call for his resignation.



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