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Fact-finding committee hears Delga witness testimonies - Daily News Egypt

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Fact-finding committee hears Delga witness testimonies

Delga residents ask for security, compensation and restoration of burnt churches and homes

A picture taken on 14 August 2013, shows the facade of the Prince Tadros Coptic Church after being torched by unknown assailants in the central Egyptian city of Minya (AFP File Photo)
A picture taken on 14 August 2013, shows the facade of the Prince Tadros Coptic Church after being torched by unknown assailants in the central Egyptian city of Minya
(AFP File Photo)

An independent fact-finding committee created to investigate the events surrounding 30 June held a session on Saturday to hear witness statements concerning sectarian conflicts that occurred in the Minya village of Delga.

 According to Aswat Masriya, Director of the Cairo office of the International Centre for Human Rights Jameel Obeid Bibawi said that the testimonies included recounts of the incidents of the church burnings, looting, burning the houses belonging to Christians among other acts of aggression.

After testifying before the committee, pastor of the Delga church Youssef Ayoub reiterated the need to compensate people affected from the incident.

Ayoub added that the security presence in Delga is weak and should be increased in order to preserve the lives and property of the residents, adding that restoration of the burnt churches has yet to start, despite the announcement by various parties of their intent to reform them.

Adly Mansour issued a presidential decree on 22 December announcing the formation of an independent committee to investigate events following the 30 June protests; the committee is expected to produce a report within 6 months. Assistant to the Minister of Justice Councilor Omar Marawan, was assigned to head the committee.

 Following 30 June and the pro-Morsi Rab’aa and Nahda sit-in dispersals, the city of Delga in Minya witnessed heavy sectarian tension and clashes.

Media officer of the local Al-Dostour Party Basem Beshay, previously said that Delga is the nearest village to the Minya desert road, and is known for housing jihadist groups: “There have been marches led by pro-Morsi protesters in which they threatened Christians in case the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in was dispersed.”

On 16 September, a report by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) said that sectarianism increased since 30 June saying that in Delga, trouble began as early as 30 June, when local youth roamed the streets “repeating sectarian chants” and pelted the homes of Christians with rocks.

Ishak Ibrahim, researcher for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, previously said that the village had a total of five churches, three of which are Anglican, and the remaining two are Orthodox and Catholic with the Catholic being the biggest of them all. Of the five churches in Delga, three were damaged due to sectarian strife.

Earlier in September the Ministry of Interior announced that security forces had carried out a security campaign in the village in an attempt to restore order back arresting, 56 individuals in the process.

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  • Reda Sobky

    Calling this “sectarian strife” is inaccurate. This is ethnic cleansing and religious hatred in the service of political aims. Sectarian strife has to do with communities expressing hostility towards each other. This is calculated and politically instigated destructive activity towards a religious minority designed to fulfill a political aim. It is planned and coordinated by the deposed and their jihadist terrorist arms. Calling it sectarian strife creates an apologist atmosphere of, “oh, its like other places where people express hostility towards each other”, no it is not, it more like the persecution of Jews in WWII, and the gypsies and gay people, a concerted effort that makes the night of the 70 burning belfries much like “crystal nacht” (sp) a statement of utterly cynical political scapegoating of a minority and it needs to be treated as such. The deposed are criminals guilty of crimes against humanity and are not victims but total villains who belong in prison and should not be viewed otherwise as that gives them cover as religious warriors which they are not.

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