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Attacks on Egypt’s Christians Continue Despite Declared State of Emergency

04/14/2017 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a mob of radical Muslims burned three Christian homes and injured eight Christians, including two women, in the village of Kom El-Loufy, located in Egypt’s Minya Governorate. The attack took place on Thursday, April 13, shortly after the Christian villagers held a prayer service in a local Christian’s home.

We asked the local security authorities to grant us a permit [to] hold prayers and they agreed,” a Christian eyewitness, who wished to remain anonymous, told ICC. “They granted us a permit to hold these prayers and the security forces came to secure the mass.”

At about 10:00 a.m., after the worship ended, we started on our way to our homes,” the Christian eyewitness continued. “Then, a mob of Muslims gathered and began to attack us and our homes. They hurled stones at our homes and set fire on three houses owned by Christians named Issa Saroufim, Morris Botros, and his brother Faris Faris. They also injured two Christian women named Amel Rizk, whose arm was broken, and Camelia Sawiris, whose leg was broken. Six other Christian men were injured. Their names are Girgis Shenouda, Nagy Mahrous, Nadr Khalifa, Younan Khalaf, Samir Ayad, and Milad Azmy.

There are approximately 1,800 Christians who live in Kom El-Loufy village where there is no local church. Sadly, this isn’t the first time that Christians in this village have been attacked. On June 30, 2016, ICC reported that homes owned by four Christian brothers were looted and burned by radical Muslims after rumors circulated that one of the four brothers, named Ayoub Khalaf Fahmy, was building a church in the village.

Most disturbing is the fact that this attack took place in the presence of security forces. Another Christian eyewitness, who also wished to remain anonymous, reported, “All these attacks occurred despite the presence of the police in the village. There are eight big cars from the central security and more than 15 police cars. I don’t know why the police haven’t arrested anyone who [has] attacked us till now.

Egypt remains under a state of emergency declared by the government after two churches were bombed last Sunday. At least 49 Christians were killed in the attacks on St. George’s Church in Tanta and St. Mark’s Church in Alexandria. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, commonly known as ISIS, claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement on its Amaq website.

Prior to Sunday’s church bombings, ISIS also claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo in December 2016 as well as a series of murders targeting Christians in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in February 2017.

William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “The attacks on Egypt’s Christian community continue despite the state of emergency declared by the central government. Yesterday, an entire community of Christians was attacked while returning home from a prayer service. Most disturbing is the fact that this attack took place under the watch of security forces and still none of the attackers have been arrested. Egypt must do more to protect its Christian community or else attacks like this and the bombings we witnessed last Sunday will continue.