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Muslim Mob Attacks Christian Family in Egypt

Several Stabbed; Police Fail to Take Substantive Action

Washington, D.C. (June 1, 2010) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has been informed that a group of Muslims attacked the home of an Egyptian Coptic family over a minor unresolved dispute.

On May 29, Nabil Shawky and another Christian were standing in line for a government food card issued to lower income families in the village of Kom El-Mahras, in the Upper Egypt province of El-Minya. While waiting, an argument began with two Muslims in line next to them, but the argument ceased peacefully and both parties returned home.

Khalaf Fathy Shehata, a lawyer and cousin of Mr. Shawky, told ICC that later that afternoon an angry mob surrounded the home of Mr. Shawky. Mr. Shawky and his family were attacked with knives, and their home was vandalized.

Four of those attacked were severely injured, including Malaka, a 50 year old woman, whose nose was broken and face was badly bruised. Nabil Shawky received 40 stitches after being stabbed three times in the back and stomach. Farah Shawky was stabbed in the kidney, and suffered a fractured skull after blows to the head. Nagah Shawky received deep cut wounds to the liver.

Eye witnesses reported that it took police officers more than an hour to reach the scene of the attack. Three minors, all under the age of 16, were reportedly arrested for taking part in the violence. Also reported to be arrested was a 60 year old Christian man after he informed authorities about the incident and was accused of retaliating against the mob.

Wagih Yacoub, a Coptic human rights activist, stated, “The police know the names of the people who stabbed the victims and yet they still haven’t bothered to arrest them. As in every case, the police always arrest a Christian. This time they arrested a wounded Christian man, 60 years old, and a diabetic who suffers from kidney disease. After the arrest, the District Attorney released him.”

Mr. Yacoub continued, “The question is, why out of one hundred fifty people who took part in the attack, did they only arrest three minors? And where were the police when they saw this mob going through the village carrying knives and heavy sticks, beating the Christians up in their home and stabbing them with the intent of killing?”

Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “Although attacks against Christians in Egypt are tragically routine, they still never fail to astonish observers on how few religious freedoms Egyptian Christians actually have and how little justice they are granted. As in nearly every case, the perpetrators of this attack will likely go unpunished, and lawlessness and prejudice will prevail over justice and order. We urge Egypt to consider the human rights and religious freedoms of the Coptic victims when they investigate into this matter. To do so, severe punishment must be enforced against those who insisted on attacking this Christian household. We plead with the Egyptian government to defend the rights of Christians equally to those of Muslims, otherwise we will never see peace in Egypt.”