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Egyptian State Security Accused of Cover-up in Muslim Riots

By Mary Abdelmassih

11/29/2009 Egypt (AINA) — In an effort to cover up the Muslim mob violence against the Copts which broke out last week in the town of Farshoot and neighboring villages (AINA 11-22-2009, 11-23-2009), and in view of the complete news blackout imposed by the Egyptian government, Egyptian State Security has intensified its pressure on the Coptic Church in Nag Hammadi and the victims of the violence into accepting extrajudicial reconciliation with the perpetrators, and opening their businesses without any compensation. Similar State Security scenarios have been experienced by Copts in all sectarian incidents in the past, in which they always come out as losers, having been forced to give up civil and criminal charges, while the criminals get away scot-free.

“There will be no reconciliation before full financial compensation has been paid to the Coptic victims, and the criminals are brought to justice, so that safety and security can be restored to the district,” said Bishop Kirollos of the Nag Hammadi Diocese.

In solidarity with the affected businessmen, the remaining Farshoot Coptic merchants have closed their shops in protest.

It is estimated that 10 pharmacies and 55 shops and businesses in Farshoot, Abu Shousha, Kom Ahmar and el-Aaraky were looted, vandalized and torched, with total losses exceeding 5 million Egyptian Pounds (1 million USD).

“State Security has taken into custody fours Copts who were victims of the violence, they were told they would be detained until they forfeit their claims and sign a ‘reconciliation’ note, so as to make it appear as a case of personal differences between individuals,” Bishop Kirollos told Free Copts.

The violence that took place in Farshoot and the neighboring villages on November 21, 2009, was prompted by a rumor that the Copt Guirgis Baroumi allegedly sexually abused a 12-year-old Muslim girl. Although the girl’s family agreed with the Church to wait for the police investigations, a mob of nearly 3000 Muslims, mainly students from Al-Azhar Institute in Farshoot, incited by their Principal, went on a rampage of looting and burning Coptic-owned properties. “The family of the involved Muslim girl did not join in.” Bishop Kirollos told Free Copts.

Coptic Organizations in the Diaspora issued a joint communiqué on November 25, 2009 condemning the attacks on Farshoot and the neighboring villages as well as the role of the State Security for failing to protect the Coptic citizens. The statement appealed to all human rights organizations in the world to join them in condemning the Egyptian government, and in protecting the Christians in Egypt from the war of systematic extermination waged against them, implementing the Wahhabi policy which is “against everything that is non-Muslim.”

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