Along the past two weeks, the walls of churches and Christian-owned shops in Assiut have been sprayed in bold black and red graffiti inciting hatred against Copts and Christianity
. The graffiti includes insults, curses, and threats against churches, Coptic clergy, and Pope Tawadros II. The most widespread is: “Egypt is an Islamist; not secular nor Christian,”
Daily rallies are conducted by thousands of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) members against Copts and non-Islamist Egyptians. They begin with a motorcycle procession near the Omar Makram mosque, the stronghold of the MB in Assiut, followed by cameras of al-Jazeera Mubashir (al-Jazeera Live), then crowds of men and women. At the end come their leaders in cars, and giant buses boarded by demonstrators. They roam the streets and districts known for their Coptic majority, forcing the Copts to close their shops upon threats of dire consequence should they refuse.
Assiut appears under siege by the Islamists, amid a conspicuous flagrant absence of security and police forces, who can only be seen around the building of Assiut governorate.
7 August 2013
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