Angry Mob of Radical Muslims Burns the Houses of Four Christian Brothers
Rumored Church Construction Again Incites Religious Hatred
7/1/2016 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on June 30, 2016, a mob of radical Muslims looted and burned four houses owned by Christians in Kom El-Loufy village, Egypt. The attack occurred after rumors circulated that Ayoub Khalaf Fahmy, a local Christian farmer, was building a church in the village.
In the beginning of June, Fahmy decided to build a new house in place of his old, one-story house. As he began to rebuild the house, rumors began to circulate around the village that Fahmy was in fact constructing a church. The rumors were widely believed because roughly 1,800 Christians live in Kom El-Loufy where there is currently no church.
Acting on these rumors, the village mayor and police made Fahmy sign a pledge that his building would be used only as a house and not to practice religious rituals. Fahmy told ICC, “Even after the police made me sign the pledge, a large mob of fanatic Muslims attacked my building, early in the morning. They destroyed all of the construction equipment and then set fire to the building, while screaming ‘Allahu Akbar.’”
After the mob burnt down Ayoub’s unfinished house, they ransacked and set fire to the houses of his three brothers Amir, Ibrahim, and Younan. The crowd, in a frenzy, continued to shout, “Allahu Akbar.” The irate Muslims blocked the path of an incoming firetruck, preventing it from entering the village. They then began quarrelling with the police officers who had just arrived on the scene.
Ibrahim described his family’s narrow escape to ICC, “When the crowd began to attack our house, we knew we had to leave. With the help of some of our moderate Muslim neighbors, my brothers and I were able to rescue our wives and children from the angry mob. We then escaped to a nearby village, where one of our relatives lives. We have been staying with him ever since the attack.”
The police arrested three individuals who had been involved in the attack and continue to investigate the case. The government has announced that it will compensate each of the four Christian brothers with 15,000 EGP for their losses; however, the estimated cost of the damages is estimated at more than 500,000 EGP.
According to Fahmy, the government is pressuring him and his family to drop the charges against the attackers. He stated, “The mayor of our village asked us to agree to hold a reconciliation session. We refused. We told him that we want to have our rights upheld by the law.”
The attack on Fahmy and his family comes only weeks after a Christian community in Al-Beida, Egypt was also attacked by a mob enraged by the rumors of a church construction. In that attack, 80 Christian families from Al-Beida were forced to flee mob violence that threatened both their lives and property.
William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “We are once again heartbroken and frustrated for the Christian community of Egypt and the terror that they have endured. This attack in Kom El-Loufy comes only weeks after a similar attack in Al-Beida saw 80 families flee their homes in fear. We are relieved to learn that Fahmy and his brothers are safe, but Christians in Egypt should not have to live in fear of mob violence like this. The rumor of churches being constructed should not rouse the fury of a mob in Egypt where Christianity has existed since nearly the beginning of the Church. Egypt must do more to secure the lives and properties of all of its citizens, including and especially Christians.”