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ICC Note:
Egyptian Christians and their property have become the targets of violence all across the country. The latest upsurge began following the military’s efforts to clear camps that were set up in support of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. The violence from those clashes only poured more fuel onto the blaze of anger that had been directed at the Christian community. The level of violence has been horrific all across the country with dozens of churches being attacked and dozens more homes or stores also being attacked.
8/26/2013 Egypt (Time) – Drenched in sweat and covered in ash, 24-year-old Miriam Nagi has spent the past eight days mopping soot inside St. George’s Church.
She’s cleaning up after a fire raged there last week, turning a once gleaming Egyptian spiritual center into a postapocalyptic backdrop of ruin and despair.
“The terrorists tried to ruin my church, my home, my people,” Nagi says, using the edge of her charcoaled sleeve to wipe tears from her eyes. “But God will prevail against the terrorist Muslim Brothers.”
St. George’s Church in Assiut, 320 km south of Cairo, was one of more than 60 churches attacked in a wave of revenge against Christians after the military’s bloody dispersal of two Islamist protest camps in Cairo this month, which killed hundreds of supporters of the ousted President. Egypt’s Christians, who make up about 10% of the Muslim-majority country, have been caught in the political cross fire and found themselves scapegoats for supporting the military’s ouster of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Outside St. George’s, traces of a low-decibel civil war ring out across the long-neglected city of Assiut, a dusty Islamist stronghold that is home to a robust Christian minority. Scores of cars owned by Christians have been set ablaze, their skeletons still lingering on the city’s narrow roads as reminders of a derailed popular uprising that once awed the world just 2½ years ago. Church walls have been emblazoned with “Morsi is my President” graffiti and buildings have been tagged “Boycott Nesaara,” an Arabic term for Christians that’s taken on a derogatory air.
Amid a heavy military-led crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, with many leaders now jailed, Egypt’s government and media have declared a war on terrorism, blaming the organization for coordinating nationwide attacks on churches and police stations. The military-installed government has used the attacks as fuel for their high-octane campaign against the once triumphant Brotherhood, but some have cast doubt on whether the Brotherhood was directly behind the attacks. And some have rebuked security forces for doing more to publicize and leverage the incidents — than prevent them.
“For weeks, everyone could see these attacks coming, with Muslim Brotherhood members accusing Coptic Christians of a role in [Morsi’s] ouster, but the authorities did little or nothing to prevent them,” John Storm, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement on Thursday. The organization documented 42 church attacks, a majority in which security forces were absent before and during the attack.

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