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Christian churches and properties attacked around the country

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Military promises to rebuild damaged churches

Further reports of Christian churches and properties around the country being attacked have emerged following the dispersal of the sit-ins near Rabaa Al-Adaweya Mosque and in Al-Nahda Square.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a list of 35 incidents of attacks on Coptic Christians around the country that that was compiled on Wednesday by El-Watani weekly. It contains a list of churches, businesses and private homes of Coptic Christians. These were either set ablaze, attacked or looted.

Amira Mikhail the Egypt researcher for the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East also compiled a longer list with the assistance of Mai El-Sadany and Amir Beshay.  The list includes 45 churches and 11 Christian institutions.

According to Mikhail’s list, the worst affected governorate was Minya where approximately 12 churches were attacked, many of them set on fire along with attacks on two Christian-owned institutions. The list also includes attempted attacks on churches, such as the one on Saint Fatima Basilica in Cairo.

According to Mikhail’s research, at a church in Assiut the Pastor of the Adventist Church and his wife were kidnapped.

Ishak Ibrahim from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) agreed that Minya had seen the worst violence. He added that EIPR had counted approximately 20 churches burnt and at least seven had been attacked, but expected that figure to rise.

“Three Coptic schools, two monasteries and three religious buildings were also torched,” said Ibrahim. He added: “The Islamists blame Copts for protesting against [Mohamed] Morsi and believe they convinced the army to deal with him.”

The Daily News Egypt’s reporter in Al-Arish said demonstrators set fire to St. George’s Church using molotov cocktails. Local residents helped put out the flames before it spread to nearby buildings.

The Maspero Youth Union published a statement on Wednesday condemning the attacks and reported that a Coptic man named Eskander Toss was shot dead inside his house in a village in Minya.

The union said the Copts were attacked “for no reason and no crimes they committed except being Christians in a country that one of its political factions is waging a religious war and commits violence to achieve political gains.”

Official spokesperson for the armed forces Colonel Ahmed Ali confirmed that the military will rebuild the churches that were attacked following the clearing of the sit-ins and that the restoration “will start right away.” He said, “we are clearing up sites and starting investigations. It is a national and historical obligation, we cannot let these people down.”

 

 

 

 

About the author

Joel Gulhane

News Reporter

Joel Gulhane is a journalist with an interest in Egyptian and regional politics. Follow him on Twitter @jgulhane


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