Rescuing and serving persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

ICC Note: Violence against Christians has been at unprecedented levels in Egypt over the past month. One of the worst places for the violence was the city of Delga. Since the removal of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi his supporters had held de facto control of the city of 120,000 people. The situation was becoming increasingly worse as there was a complete absence of security for the Christians in the city.
9/16/2013 Egypt (The Guardian) – Egyptian authorities have finally recaptured a town in central Egypt that had been under the control of hardline supporters of ex-president Mohamed Morsi for more than two months, locals have told the Guardian.
Armed crowds in Delga, a remote town of 120,000 people in Egypt’s Minya province, first scared away its meagre police force following Morsi’s overthrow on 3 July. They then unleashed a campaign of terror on the town’s Coptic Christian minority, who make up around a sixth of the local population.
Two earlier attempts to retake Delga failed, but in the early hours of Monday morning police launched a third and decisive assault, and have now re-entered the town, residents said by telephone.
Further assaults on up to 10 other towns in the region where Islamists have also weakened state control since July are also planned, Minya’s governor, Salah Zeyada, said.
The move on Delga may have come too late for much of the town’s Christian community. Up to 100 Christian families have fled since July, with dozens of Coptic properties – including three of Delga’s five churches – torched and looted. Some Muslims stood by their Christian neighbours, but many Coptics were forced to pay protection money, and were unwilling to roam the streets freely in case they were attacked.
“Nothing can stop anyone in Delga. It’s a free-for-all,” one local Christian activist, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, said before police re-entered the town. “Copts tend to stay in their homes without work and our lives are unbearable.”
The violence peaked on 14 August, the day soldiers and police slaughtered hundreds of pro-Morsi supporters at two protest camps in Cairo, where about 350 Muslims from Delga were among the thousands demonstrating.
In retaliation, groups of armed men across the country attacked dozens of police stations and at least 42 churches.
Egypt’s Coptic Christians, who form about 10% of the country’s 85 million population, have long been targets of sectarian attacks, said Minya’s bishop, Anba Macarius. But the hatred heightened this summer after Copts were blamed for Morsi’s overthrow by some of his backers – even though his removal had strong support from Muslims and Christians alike.
During August’s anti-Christian backlash, Minya province, 150 miles south of Cairo, was the worst affected.
“As soon as the crackdown in Cairo started, all the loudspeakers at the main mosques in Delga issued calls for jihad,” said Samir Lamei Sakr, a prominent Christian lawyer who fled from the town later that day. “One of them was as follows: ‘Your brethren are being killed at Nahda and Rabaa [the two Cairo camps]. Everyone with a weapon, come out to save them from their killers – the Christian infidels, the police, and the army.’ It was a call made across the village.”

[Full Story]