Bishop escapes assassination bid in Egypt; Christian dragged through streets

October 15, 2013 by  
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Christian targets have been attacked since Mohammad Morsi’s ouster

Christian targets have been attacked since Mohammad Morsi’s ouster

Egypt, October 07, 2013: An Egyptian bishop escaped an assassination attempt when his car came under fire while he was travelling to visit the family of a Christian killed in the ongoing targeted violence against the community.

Bishop Anba Makarios of Minya was entering el-Sario in Abou Qorqas, Minya province, on 30 September when his vehicle was showered with bullets by unidentified assailants.

His driver was able to escape the scene and took the threatened bishop to the home of a local Christian for refuge. The gunmen continued their pursuit, surrounded the house and shot at it for over an hour, causing considerable damage to the windows, doors and walls.

The police were called but did not arrive until 90 minutes after the attackers had left.

Bishop Makarios had been on his way to offer condolences to the family of Karim Samir Lamaee, a Christian who was killed in the relentless attacks on the community since the removal of Islamist president Mohammad Morsi.

The head of Minya security said that the Muslim residents of el-Sario were angry because they thought that the bishop had come to the village to re-open its only church, which was closed ten years ago for security reasons.

Minya has been one of the areas worst affected by the anti-Christian violence that was unleashed by the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of Morsi’s ouster. They have blamed the Christian minority for his fall and taken out their anger on Christian targets, including scores of churches and countless homes and businesses.

Christian leaders are especially vulnerable: death threats against Coptic Pope Tawadros II have forced him to go into hiding.

Bishop Makarios said that the attack on him was “an indication that while steps are being taken towards reconciliation, there are those who still want to delay us”.

CHRISTIAN DRAGGED THROUGH STREETS

The Christians of Dalga, Minya, which was taken over by Islamists following Morsi’s fall in July, are continuing to face merciless violence despite the army’s intervention last month.

Last week Iskander Toss was kidnapped, severely beaten and dragged through the streets until he died. A few days later, members of the Muslim Brotherhood opened up his grave, seized his body and dragged it through the town once again, causing terrified Christian families to flee.

Christians did comprise a significant proportion of the population of Dalga, 20,000 out of 120,000, but the Islamist violence has driven many out. Their homes, businesses and churches were looted and torched, and Christians have been forced to pay the jizya, a humiliating tax historically imposed by Muslims on non-Muslims in “conquered” territory.

Although the Egyptian security forces have retaken the town, and detained at least 130 militants, they have been unable to quash the Brotherhood’s campaign, and the Islamists are threatening a backlash. One said, “They had better withdraw quickly or there will be bloodshed”; another, “The town is inching closer to a massacre”.

– barnabas team

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