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ICC Note:
The Coptic Christians in Egypt are facing a string of attacks including mob violence, arson, shootings, and other attacks. In the weeks since the removal of Mohamed Morsi Egypt’s Christian have been targeted as a “soft target” by supporters of Morsi. Copts joined with millions of fellow Egyptians in protesting the numerous abuses and economic mismanagement that was severely injuring the country and all of its citizens. The political situation remains in transition but the parties are working together to minimize a culture that has cultivated sectarian strife between religious and ethnic groups.
By Ahmed Maher
7/17/2013 Egypt (BBC) – Khamis had no other choice than to leave his house in the village of Dalga, near the central Egyptian city of Minya. After an arson attack on his cousin’s house and the fatal shooting of another relative, he fled into hiding with his wife and six children.
He said they had been singled out for no other reason than being Christians.
“It was a terrible night,” recalled Khamis, who agreed to talk to us but did not want to be identified. Khamis is not his real name.
Khamis recounted what happened on the night of 3 July, when the army deposed Islamist former President Mohammed Morsi.
“Angry mobs and thugs rampaged through houses owned by Christians. They started with the house of my cousin, looting and setting it on fire. We weren’t taking any chances – we fled the village.”
‘You are doomed’
Since Mr Morsi was forced from office, there has been a string of attacks on Christians in different provinces.
Local Copts say they have been singled out by radical Islamists, for campaigning against the former president and his Muslim Brotherhood movement.
On 6 July, a priest was shot dead by gunmen in an outdoor market in northern Sinai.
Five days later, the body of a beheaded Christian man was found in the same area, where Islamist militants have launched a string of attacks on security and military posts since Mr Morsi’s overthrow.
Arson attacks on Christian houses and shops have also been reported in remote southern villages, where Islamist hardliners hold sway.
The violence included a church in Dalga, 350km (220 miles) south of Cairo.
We visited the site and found a burned-out shell, ransacked and blackened by fire.
The church’s priest, Father Ayoub Youssef, told us what happened the night Mr Morsi was removed from power.
“They were many people, about 500,” he said.
“They stormed the church chanting slogans accusing Christians of campaigning against Morsi like ‘Shame on you Christians! You traitors conspired against the president. You are doomed!’
“They looted everything – benches, ceiling fans, windows and even toilets. They smashed a statue of the Virgin Mary, before setting the whole building on fire.”
Father Ayoub was grateful to Muslim neighbours for saving his life.
“They helped me escape from the roof to their house. Had it not been for them, I would have been lynched,” he said.

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