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Christian killed in Egypt church attack; Christian businesses destroyed

Country/Region: Egypt, Middle East and North Africa

A Christian father of three was killed and a Christian teenager left in a coma in the second of two church attacks in Egypt last week.

One of the incidents took place in Alexandria

One of the incidents took place in Alexandria
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Pietro Ferreira

Sedky Sherif (36) died in the violence that broke out in the Dakhela district of Alexandria on 17 May. Muslims launched an attack on a church after an accusation was made against a local Christian man.

Shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is great”), they threw Molotov cocktails and bricks at the building, burning the gate and breaking most of the windows. As Christians tried to defend the site, they also came under assault; the Muslims fired birdshot and threw bricks at them.

Question marks remain over the cause of Sedky’s death. The security report said that he “died of fright”, suffering a heart attack after hearing gun fire, but witnesses said that the Christian’s body was covered in physical wounds.

A death certificate was issued the following day, curiously citing the cause of death as “under investigation”. A human rights expert said that this was the first time that a death certificate had been issued while the cause of death was still being investigated.

Mina Milad Saber (19) needed brain surgery after being seriously injured in the violence; he was left in a coma. A number of other Christians were also wounded.

In a separate incident, on 13 May, a church and Christian property in Menbal village, Minya, were attacked by a Muslim mob.

The vandalism followed the harassment earlier that day of Christian girls in the nearby village of Manshiet Menbal. Three Muslim youths threw plastic bags filled with urine at the girls as they came out of church. The assailants were driven away by a group of Christian young people, who came out to defend the girls.

Muslims later targeted the Christian community in Menbal. The mob stormed the village church and assaulted a person inside. They vandalised the building, breaking the windows and doors, as well as other items inside.

The aggressors, who were carrying firearms and knives, then rampaged through the streets, looting and destroying Christian-owned businesses and pharmacies. They also torched vehicles.

Several Christians were injured in the violence. The Muslims insulted them and threatened to expel them from the village.

Former MP Dr Ehab Ramzy explained that the villages of Menbal and Manshiet Menbal have nothing to do with each other, and the Christian community in the former had nothing to do with the incident involving the Christian girls in the latter, adding, “They were attacked just because they are Christians”.

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