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ICC Note: More details are forthcoming from the attack on May 20th in Upper Egypt, where an elderly woman was stripped and beaten in public while hers and four other Christian houses were burned to the ground. The rumors about an affair between a coptic man and muslim woman are proving to have been false as the woman involved, Nagwa Fouad was in the process of requesting a divorce when her estranged husband began to spread the lies. Now it is an issue of law and reconciliation. The question remains: will the Christians find justice for what was done?

06/03/2016 Egypt (World Watch Monitor): A Coptic bishop has urged full recourse to law to punish those behind an attack in Minya, Upper Egypt, which saw the 70-year-old mother of a man rumoured to have had an affair with a Muslim woman stripped naked in public view.

She and another Coptic woman were at the very least injured, while five homes were also burned when angry villagers ran amok after the rumoured affair between Ashraf Attiya, a 31-year-old Coptic trader, and a married Muslim woman, Nagwa Ragab Fouad.

Fouad, already estranged from her husband, Nazir Ahmed, strongly denies the alleged affair, insisting Ahmed spread the rumour to be able to get a free divorce, denying her her legal rights.

Bishop Makarius of Minya (300km south of Cairo) this week reiterated his call to bring the attackers to justice, rejecting the practice of extrajudicial “conciliation meetings” that have long pressured Copts to give up legal rights.

“The law should take its course until the perpetrators are brought to justice,” said Makarius of the attack in the village of al-Karam on Friday 20 May.

“Such issues have to be tackled head on. The root causes have to be exposed.”

‘I was completely stripped’

Threats against Copts, including the Attiya household, became apparent from 18 May. When the priest of a nearby village raised the issue with the authorities, he was given false assurances.

Soad Thabet, the alleged lover’s 70-year-old mother, told a local TV chat show: “On Friday [20 May], sometime in the evening, our home was stormed. They beat my husband severely. When I started screaming, they dragged me out into the street.

I wish they had only beaten me, but not stripped me entirely naked as they did

“They repeatedly beat me and stripped me of all my clothes. They left me as naked as the day I was born.

“They were heavily armed, no-one dared approach me to help.”

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