Latest Attack Comes, Again, After Rumors Spread of Christian-Owned Property Being Turned into a Church in Egypt
07/22/2016 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern): International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on July 22, 2016, a mob of radical Muslims attacked four houses owned by Christians in Saft Al-Kharsa village in the Beni Suef Governate of Egypt. The attack occurred after rumors circulated that one of the houses was to be turned into a church. This was widely believed, seeing as there are approximately 60 Christian families in the village which currently has no church.
This is the fifth time in a matter of weeks that Christians have been attacked due to suspicion of church construction. On June 30 and on July 15, Coptic homes were looted and destroyed by Muslim mobs who were incited to violence by similar rumors, while on July 17 a Coptic man was murdered by a similar mob.
On July 20, two days prior to the attack, security forces called in Nady Yacoub, the owner of the suspected building. After an investigation as well as a signed pledge by Yacoub, police determined that he was in fact building a home and not a church. He was licensed to build his new home and even had land management build a fence around his land.
“On Friday, July 22, following the Muslim noon prayer, dozens of Muslim young men gathered in the front of some Christian-owned houses,” Emad Samuel, a Christian resident, told ICC, “They were chanting Islamic slogans and they hurled bricks and gravel to the houses.”
Emad continued, “They then broke into four houses owned by Christians…they looted and destroyed the contents of these houses and smashed a car owned by one of [the Christians].”
The homes which were destroyed belonged to Ishak Fahim, his nephew Ezzat Samir Fahim, Nady Yacoub, and Nady Fahim.
As per usual with these attacks, police did not show up until an hour after. Security forces were able to control the mob and impose a security cordon in the village as a follow up. Police arrested two of the Christians, Ishak Fahim and his nephew, accusing them of building a church. They also arrested 15 Muslims that were a part of the mob.
Sandra Elliot, ICC’s Program Coordinator, said, “ICC is, again, infuriated on behalf of the Christians in Egypt who have suffered attack after attack in recent weeks. Mob violence over the suspicion of church construction is plaguing the country at this point. This attack is of particular concern since police officials were aware that it was a house being built and not a church. More needs to be done for these Egyptian citizens. It is imperative that the Egyptian government secures the lives and property of all of its citizens, including and especially Christians.”
For interviews with Sandra Elliot, Program Coordinator, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]
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