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ICC Note: In cities throughout Egypt dozens of churches remain in ruins. The Christian community is still reeling from a wave of violence that touched nearly every part of the country. Christians have reported how whole communities are without anywhere to gather, except the burned out ruins of churches. The amount of rebuilding that will be required is on a massive level.
By Kristen Chick
9/12/2013 Egypt (CS Monitor) When a wave of attacks on churches and Christian properties swept across Egypt last month, this city was hit the worst.
Minya’s streets are now lined with burned-out hulks. Church interiors have been reduced to ash. The once-cheerful turquoise exterior of a Christian orphanage is now streaked black from the fire that gutted it.
Destroyed wheelchairs sit outside a burned-out Jesuit center that worked with disabled people. Torched schools, shops, and monasteries lie in ruins. On one street, several Christian-owned shops are reduced to scorched rubble. Nearby, an untouched snack shop blares a song that proclaims “Egypt is Islamic.”
As the attacks happened, police did little or nothing to stop them.
For some Christians, the trouble didn’t stop when the flames died down. A few days after their church was torched, a neighbor relayed an anonymous threat to Said Botros Attallah and his wife Sahar Atteya Saadallah: Pay 500 Egyptian pounds, or their house would be burned down – with them inside.
Samir Lamei Sakr, a lawyer who focuses on human rights, has already seen his home burned down in the village of Delja, in Minya province. He says there is no going back. He fled to Cairo with his immediate and extended family after mobs attacked their houses, and killed his cousin, dragging his body through the streets behind a vehicle, Mr. Sakr says.
The extremist-controlled village has no security presence. Christians in Delja are paying protection money, and Sakr says his life would be in danger if he returned.
Many Christians in Minya say life grew more difficult after Islamists came to power in 2012, and they hope for an improvement now that the Army has deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. But the lack of state response to the wave of attacks on Aug. 14 and the consistent failure to provide security in places like Delja, is a reminder that, Islamists in power or not, Egypt has a history of failing to secure and protect Christians or bring their attackers to justice, a failure that continues today.

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