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Muslim violence after Christian woman sexually harassed in Egypt

July 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Egypt, newsletter-world, Persecution, World

Map showing the location of Egypt

Map showing the location of Egypt

We are fed up. Every few days an incident … turns into an attack on Christians. We have to blame the policy of impunity adopted by the Army, which lets Muslims get away scot-free every time they attack [Christians].

– Egyptian Christian activist Nabil Naggar

A mob of armed Muslims in Egypt looted and torched Christian homes and businesses, and beat up Christians, following the sexual harassment of a Christian woman by Muslims at a bus terminal.

The violence broke out on Thursday (30 June) when the woman’s husband tried to defend her but was himself severely beaten. Shortly after the altercation, thousands of Muslims descended on the predominantly Christian part of Kolosna, Minya province, and started looting and torching Christian property. They were armed with swords, batons and guns, and shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“god is great”) as they carried out the attacks. Ten Christians were injured during the violence.

One Christian resident said, “They were cursing the cross and taunting us that we will stay inside and never be allowed in the streets again.”

Six Christian homes, including the property of the sexual harassment victim, were looted or torched, as well as three supermarkets and other businesses.

Meanwhile, Muslims searched cars on the main road of Kolosna. A church leader said:

If the car belonged to Christians, its passengers were beaten, insulted and windshields were smashed. If the car belonged to Muslims, it passed safely.

The army and military police were called but did not arrive for three hours and reportedly took no action while properties were attacked. They eventually fired teargas after several attempts to disperse the Muslim mob failed.

WELCOME COURT RULING

In a more positive development for Egypt’s beleaguered Christian community, a court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Muslim lawyers regarding Camilia Shehata, the wife of a church leader who was alleged to have converted to Islam and been held captive by the Egyptian Church. The Muslims demanded the disclosure of her whereabouts, but the court ruled that they had failed to provide proof to support their claim of Camilia’s detention. She has publicly denied the Muslims’ claims.

This matter has been used by Muslims as a pretext to attack Christians, including a hostage siege at a Baghdad church last October and more recently, in May, attacks on churches and Christian property in Imbaba district, Cairo, that left 12 dead and more than 200 injured.

Camilia’s lawyer Dr Naguib Gabriel said:

Today’s court ruling closes the curtain on one of the most famous and difficult cases in Egypt. Muslims will not be allowed to demonstrate regarding this matter anymore.

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