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Copts attacked in Egypt, CSW reports

05 January 2024

Alamy

The President of Egypt, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, gives a speech last month, following his re-election

The President of Egypt, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, gives a speech last month, following his re-election

THE site of a new church and homes of Christians in Upper Egypt were attacked before Christmas, in another outbreak of sectarian violence in the region, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has reported.

The site of a new church, in Al-Azeeb, Minya Province, was attacked by “extremist members of the Muslim community” from the area on 18 December, the charity said.

The village is home to about 3000 Copts. The government had granted permission for the church to be built, and foundations of the building were being laid, when a group attacked the workers and fired Molotov cocktails, which set fire to homes.

The founder president of CSW, Mervyn Thomas, said: “The torching of Coptic homes and properties highlights once again the urgent need for the Egyptian authorities to enact the law regulating the construction and renovation of houses of worship in a manner that guarantees the right of Christians to worship in community with others.

“We call on the Egyptian authorities to hold those responsible for this attack accountable, and to refrain from resorting to reconciliation meetings as a replacement for the rule of law, as they impose ad-hoc, unjust, and often unconstitutional conditions on the victims of sectarian violence, and perpetuate impunity for the perpetrators.”

Egypt is currently placed 35th on the World Watch List of the countries where Christians are most persecuted. There have been many attacks on the Coptic Christian minority by groups linked to Islamic State. In 2017, gunmen attacked a bus taking Christians to a monastery, killing 29 people (News, 2 June 2017), and 48 people died and more than 120 were injured in a twin suicide bombing at St Mark’s Ca­­thedral, Alexandria, and Mar Girgis, on Palm Sunday (News 21 April 2017).

Last month, the President of Egypt, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, was re-elected to serve a third six-year term. He won 89.6 per cent of the vote, the country’s electoral commission said.

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