Minya Copts to MCN: Sheikh provoked MB to attack church

by Emad Maher

Dozens of Muslims from Raida village, Minya [southern Egypt] attacked
Coptic homes and churches with stones, Molotov cocktails and firearms
on Saturday evening.

The attacks resulted in the defacing of the Evangelical Church's
interface and a number of cars, shops and houses owned by Copts.
Eyewitnesses said the imam of the village mosque was the instigator of
the incident after he alleged that a mosque in the neighboring village
was burned with worshippers inside.

Samuel Gad, a Copt from the village, told MCN that Islamists attacked
Copts the neighboring village of Bani Ahmed el-Sharqiya, which is 8 km
far from Raida village. Afterwards, a sheikh from Raida village
alleged over the mosque’s loudspeaker that a mosque was burned in Bani
Ahmed while worshippers were still inside.

“Later, there was a random attack by Islamic currents on Coptic homes
in Raida. They threw stones and Molotov cocktails and fired gunshots.
They moved from one street to another, targeting homes of Copts and
destroying everything they found in front of buildings owned by Copts.
The attacks resulted in the destruction of two cars and a number of
stores,” Gad explained.

“During their marches and attacks, a microbus owned by a Muslim passed
by. They attacked it and destroyed the car because they believed it
was owned by a Copt. The Brotherhood also headed to the Evangelical
Church, located at the entrance of the village, and threw stones at
the church building. The attack on the church damaged the windows
overlooking the street,” Gad added.

“Security forces came to the village more than an hour after the
houses and property owned by Copts was damage,” explained Gad. “Does
it make sense to see policemen standing and having drinks with those
who caused such destruction?” Gad wondered.

Hani Ibrahim, a resident of the village, said these attacks have
occurred more than once before, but they were less violent in the
past. He added that several protestors took to the streets of the
village in support of Morsi. They chanted hostile slogans against
Copts and threatened to attack Copts if Morsi was not reinstated.

“They urged children to throw pieces of bricks and stones at Coptic
houses, but the elders of the village intervened to prevent them,” he

It is worth mentioning that Copts have experienced violent attacks by
Islamic groups since the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi on July
3. The Minya Governorate is one of the governorates that witnessed a
disproportionately large number of attacks and threats against Copts.

Today, a number of militants also attacked Coptic homes in Bani Ahmed
el-Sharqiya village, Minya and burned a number of houses.

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