Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thousands of Muslims Torch Christian Homes, Churches in Egypt

by Rick Moran

According to the Assyrian International News Agency, several thousand Muslims have attacked Christian houses and places of worship in a town 30 miles from Cairo. The fate of the clerics who worked at the church is unknown - they may have been detained as hostages or burned to death in the fire.

The violence was the result of a Christian dating a Muslim woman:

Witnesses report the mob prevented the fire brigade from entering the village. The army, which has been stationed for the last two days in the village of Bromil, 7 kilometers from Soul, initially refused to go into Soul, according to the officer in charge. When the army finally sent three tanks to the village, Muslim elders sent them away, saying that everything was "in order now."

A curfew has been imposed on the 12,000 Christians in the village.

This incident was triggered by a relationship between 40-year-old Copt Ashraf Iskander and a Muslim woman. Yesterday a "reconciliation" meeting was arranged between the relevant Coptic and Muslim families and together with the Muslim elders it was decided that Ashraf Iskander would have to leave the village because Muslims torched his house.

The father of the Muslim woman was killed by his cousin because he did not kill his daughter to preserve the family's honor, which led the woman's brother to avenge the death of his father by killing the cousin. The village Muslims blamed the Christians.

The Muslim mob attacked the church, exploding 5-6 gas cylinders inside the church, pulled down the cross and the domes and burnt everything inside. Activist Ramy Kamel of Katibatibia Coptic advocacy called US-based Coptic Hope Sat TV and sent an SOS on behalf of the Copts in Soul village, as they are presently being attacked by the mob. He also said that no one is able to contact the priest and the deacons inside the burning church and there is no answer from their mobile phones.

This is just the latest in a series of attacks on the Copts in Egypt that seem to have increased in intensity since the revolt last month.

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Rick Moran

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