Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

Muslims Abduct Coptic Christian Woman in Egypt

ICC Note:

Nesma Sarwat, an 18-year-old Coptic girl, was abducted on Saturday. It is believed that she was targeted because her father is a building contractor who took part in converting a controversial community center into a church building in Talbiya, located near the Giza pyramids. The construction led to Coptic protests on November 24. Riot police were dispatched and opened fire on the protestors with live ammunition, killing two young Coptic men. Tensions are still heated between Copts, government forces and local Muslims in the region.

By Mary Abdelmassih
2/19/2011 Egypt (AINA) – Muslims broke into the home of a Coptic family this afternoon and abducted their 18-year-old daughter Nesma Sarwat. The home belongs to the building contractor who built the controversial St. Mary and St. Michael church in Talbiya, within the Omraniya neighborhood of Giza. The abductors wrote messages on the home’s wall, the messages said “Islam is the solution” and “The Church has to be demolished.” The abductors also wrote the names of the other family members on the wall.

Neighbors heard voices, but no one saw the abductors as the whole operation took less than ten minutes and blood was found on the stairs and in the flat, reported Coptic activist Mariam Ragy of Free Coptic Voice advocacy. “I believe writing the names of the rest of the family might mean that their turn is coming,” said the neighbor.

The Family of the abducted woman called the security forces to the scene.

St. Mary and St. Michael church was the scene on November 24, 2010 of severe clashes between State Security forces and Copts protesting over the closure of their church, during which the forces used tear gas and live ammunition against the protesters, resulting in the killing of three Copts, hundreds of injuries and the arrest of 176 Copts.

During the protests in Tahrir Square which, culminated in the ousting of President Mubarak, a period which witnessed the complete absence of the security forces from the streets, the congregation of St. Mary and St. Michael church was guarding the church, which was closed on November 24. On February 6, as soon as a few security officers came back on duty, they stormed the church and evicted the priest and the congregation who were keeping vigil there and holding services praying for peace in Egypt.

On February 8 sectarian violence broke out in the hamlet of Elias Hanna, in Samalut, Minya province when some 80 Muslims attacked a number of Copts because they attempted to pray in a house belonging to the Diocese since 2007. The Muslim attack resulted in the injury of 5 Copts. Nearly 6000 Copts living in the hamlet of Elias Hanna and three other neighboring villages have no church.

On February 16 the Church of St. George in Rafah was torched, the walls of the church had writing saying “No to Christians in Muslim Land” (video).

Sectarian tensions broke out on February 17 when Muslims attacked Christians inside the church of Saint Georges in the village of El-Hathatah near Samalout, Minya. This was prompted by the church building a roof over the courtyard between the church and its community services building within the fenced church compound, in order to make more space for its congregation. Muslims surrounded the church and hurled stones. The armed forces were called but without response, prompting the Coptic youth to defend their church.

[Full Story]