The Coptic villagers Adel Fahmy, Zarif Fahmy, and Romani Azmy from Qoussiya in Assiut have been forced to keep to their houses as thugs attacked them for refusing to pay tribute money imposed on them by the Muslim clan of Ahmed Kamel Zaawila. The Zaawilas have been terrorising the Qoussiya Copts, who are mostly well-off, into paying tribute money. The Copts filed 20 complaints with the police, but every time they had to drop these complaints under threat from the thugs.
This time the Fahmys filed a complaint and the Copts of Qoussiya sent an appeal to the Interior Minister Muhammad Ibrahim to urgently step in to their rescue, especially after Ahmed Zaawila who is already detained by the police for acts of thuggery called the Copts from his prison and threatened them if they dared file any more complaints. He told the Copts that these complaints are useless anyway since his clan has ‘contacts’ among the police.
According to Father Moussa Shaker of Qoussiya bishopric, the issue of the tribute imposed on Copts has become phenomenal all over Assiut governorate. He said the Copts are in despair because of the apathy displayed towards them by the local police. More often than not, Fr Shaker told Watani, the police tend to turn a blind eye to the tribute crimes and pressure the victims into ‘conciliation’. Anba Thomas, Bishop of Qoussiya, is personally upset that this problem has been going on for the third successive year now without the police doing anything about it. any intervention by the security.
Only a few days ago, the Copts of Shamiya, another Assiut village, could not work in their fields or even head there since the local thugs had seized control of them. The move was to penalise the Copts for refused to pay tribute money. The police, again, did nothing.
30 September 2014