Minya security chief, General Reda Tabliya, has been replaced by a new chief, General Faisal Dweedar. Given that a major cause for the Copts’ suffering in Minya [http://en.wataninet.com/coptic-affairs-coptic-affairs/sectarian/the-copts-painand-bitterness/16916/] has been security shortcoming that bordered on complicity with the Islamists who attacked them, the Copts hailed the dismissal of General Tabliya as a step in the right direction.
The first statement made by General Dweedar following his new appointment was that Minya Security would work to bring about safety to all, and that the law should be applied to work justice in all the recent cases of attacks against Copts.
Thursday 28 July had seen a meeting between President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Pope Tawadros II, upon initiative from the President. Accompanying the Pope was a delegation of bishops, clergy, and members of the laity. [http://en.wataninet.com/coptic-affairs-coptic-affairs/coptic-affairs/president-sisi-meets-pope-tawadros/16984/] Bishop Macarius of Minya was there, and he placed before the President the plight of Minya Copts. President Sisi responded in a manner that assured the Coptic delegation that serious measures would be taken to rectify matters.
Even though both the spokesman of the Presidency, Alaa’Youssef, and that of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Fr Boulos Halim, had given statements on the meeting which were rather general and vague, most Copts felt the initiative by the President to hold an hour-and-a-half-long meeting with the Pope was a positive step, and expectantly awaited results. The replacement of Minya security chief is thus seen as the first of these results.
Following Thursday’s reassuring meeting with the President, the Crisis Management Committee of the Coptic Orthodox Church cancelled a visit it had planned to Minya. The visit was scheduled in the wake of successive Islamist attacks against Copts during May, June, and July, which left one Copt dead, several injured, and Coptic homes and property damaged and burned. The majority of the attacks were waged in retaliation against rumours that the Copts were building some church. The attacks turned into collective punishment of the Coptic communities in the villages of al-Karm, Koum al-Loufi, Abu-Yacoub and Tahna al-Gabal in Minya, some 250km south of Cairo; and Saft al-Kharsa in Beni Sweif, some 100km south of the capital. No culprits were brought to justice; rather, the Copts were coerced into ‘conciliating’ with their attackers in out-of-court settlements that forced them to relinquish their legal rights.
30 July 2016