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Mob Attacks Christians After Accusing Believer of Insulting Islam

07/12/18 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that, on July 7, 2018, a mob of Islamic extremists formed in Egypt’s Minbal village and attacked several Christian homes. Prior to the attack, Islamic hardliners accused a Coptic Christian, Abdo Adel Bebawy, of insulting Islam on Facebook. He was arrested the following day, on July 6. A mob subsequently formed and attacked the Christian community of Minbal.

According to one source quoted by Wataninet, “Last Friday, the village witnessed a group of hardliners (who gathered) on the grounds of a accusing a Copt of insulting religion… the militants tried to gather against the Copts in light of the security absence.”

“The Copts were surprised by a crowd of militants in front of their houses chanting slogans and throwing stones at their houses. They left their homes until the police arrived, who contained the situation without causing casualties,” continued Wataninet.

“The Muslims came from all of the surrounding villages around Minbal… They all came with anger and stoned the Christian houses,” said Youssef, who lives near Minbal and witnessed the recruitment of Muslims for the mob attack.

One woman, Miriam shared with ICC, “The mob stoned the houses of all the Christians (in Minbal). The Christians were afraid and all locked themselves in their houses and closed the wooden shutters of the windows.”

Another villager added, “There is now negotiation (a reconciliation session) with Abdo Adel Bebawy and his family. They (Muslims) want to displace them out of the village.”

Reconciliation sessions have become commonplace in Egypt. These out-of-court settlements intimidate Christians into relinquishing their legal rights while their assailants avoid punishment. Christians often accept the outcome of these sessions in hopes of avoiding further violence. A recent trend shows that authorities are increasingly pushing for Christians to “reconcile” with their attackers.

“Sectarian strife and the assault on the Copts are being dealt with illegally because security is pressing for stability. The government does not want the press to speak about it or publish stories about it,” explained one Coptic lawyer to ICC.

“It is not fair what is happening. When we see that both the aggressor and the victim are arrested, we reach the conclusion that the measures the police use are not built on justice. It is the opposite of what the government claims when they say that the law should apply to everybody,” shared Nasar from Cairo.

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “The environment in Minbal remains very tense as the community prepares to move towards reconciliation. These kinds of situations rarely result in favor of the Christians who were victimized by the extremists. This, coupled with the arrest of Abdo on charges of contempt of Islam, gives the appearance of the authorities validating violence towards Christians. The authorities must take a serious stance on protecting the rights of Christians.”

For interviews with Claire Evans, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]