Egyptian Christians tortured in Libya; Church attacked

March 8, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Benghazi is the second largest city in LibyaLibya, March 06, 2013: At least 48 Egyptian Christians were seized and tortured by Islamists in Libya, while in a separate incident, two church leaders were assaulted in an attack on an Egyptian church in the country.

The Christians, market traders in Benghazi who displayed Christian symbols on their stalls, were detained last week after being accused by Salafists of proselytising. A video later seized by police showed the Egyptian Christians locked in a small room guarded by the bearded Islamists.

They were tortured by their captors, who used acid to burn off the cross tattoos on their wrists and shaved their heads. Many of the detainees were cut and bruised.

One of them, Kamel, told his family that he had been electrocuted and forced to clean toilets while being assaulted and mocked for his faith.
The Libyan authorities said that the Christians were arrested for violating immigration laws and not for religious reasons. They were later freed and are now expected to be deported.
The case follows the arrest of four foreign Christians, a Swedish-American, Egyptian, South African and South Korean, on suspicion of proselytising and distributing Christian literature.
Kamel’s uncle called on the Egyptian government to do more to help Egyptian citizens living abroad. He said:
What is the position of Egypt’s president on the violations committed against the expatriate Egyptians? Where is the freedom and justice? Why do we respect foreigners in our country when they violate our dignity in their countries?

In a separate incident that highlights the growing threat to Christians in Libya, an Egyptian church in Benghazi was attacked by Islamist gunmen on Thursday 28 February. Two church ministers were assaulted; the Islamists tried to lynch one of them, Paul Isaac.

The foreign ministry said it “strongly condemned” the church attack and that necessary measures had been taken to secure the church and its occupants.
Attacks against Christians have been on the rise in Libya since the revolution. Fallen dictator Muammar Gaddafi had kept Islamists on a tight leash, but they are now exerting their influence through both violent and political means. The country has become something of a hotbed for Islamic militants from across the region.

– barnabas team

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