As violence sweeps across the country, the Christian community has become the target for much of the anger from supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi. In cities from north to south, churches, schools, monasteries, and shops belonging to Christians have been attacked, many looted and set on fire. The violence started when government forces tried to end protests that had lasted for six-plus weeks. The death toll continues to climb, estimates range from 600 to as many as 2000, according to the Muslim Brotherhood. Initially, many of those killed were supporters of Morsi at the sit-ins, but others have been killed in the violence since then.
By Ben Gittleson
8/15/2013 Egypt (ABC News) – The Islamic supporters of Egypt’s ousted president who have been battling the military have turned their rage on members of the country’s Coptic Christian minority, attacking churches, monasteries, schools, Christian owned shops as well as individuals.
Churches across the country sustained attacks for a second straight day today, according to rights groups, state media and Egyptian security forces. Individual Copts say they fear reprisal attacks, with one video purportedly showing supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi beating a Coptic taxi driver to death in Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city.
The leader of country’s Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, had previously expressed his support for the military coup that unseated the country’s first Islamist president last month. Coptic Christians widely supported Morsi’s opponent in presidential elections last year. Copts make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 90 million people.
Forty churches were burned across Egypt Wednesday, according to local nongovernmental organizations and the Coptic Church’s youth group. The Egyptian military pledged to reconstruct and restore all the burned churches, state media reported.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, a human rights group based in Cairo, documented additional attacks against Coptic monasteries, schools and shops, according to the group’s representative Ishaq Ibrahim, The Associated Press reported.
The attacks on Coptic churches continued today, officials and monitor said.
In a speech today, President Obama condemned the attacks.
“We call on those who are protesting to do so peacefully and condemn the attacks that we’ve seen by protesters, including on churches,” Obama said during a break in his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.