Watani was able to obtain details of the Sunday 11 November attack by a fundamentalist Muslim against the church of Mar-Girgis (St George) in Manshiyet al-Tahrir in the Cairo eastern district of Ain Shams. The fundamentalist broke into the church at around 6am through a side door near the bakery in which the host bread, qurban, is made. He was quickly intercepted by the qurabni, the qurban baker, but the intruder shouted the Islamic Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest) and hit the qurabni on the head with an iron rod he was carrying, bruising him. When anther worker came to rescue the qarabni, he was also hit. By that time the few men who were in church at the time had gathered; they overpowered the assailant and handed him to the police.
According to Tharwat Bekhit, Ain Shams MP, the assailant was a 22-year-old man named Islam Abd-Rabbu. He was dressed in the Islamic jilbab, and appeared to be on drugs; his family later confirmed that he had a problem with drug abuse. Ain Shams police and prosecution are investigating the matter in an attempt to find if the young man had been acting on his own or were there others behind him.
Atta, Mar-Girgis’s qarabni, told Watani: “That day, Sunday 11 November, We had to bake extra qurban requested by a nearby church. We do the baking at night, usually finishing in the dawn hours, in order for the qurban to be ready for Mass early morning. I was exhausted and decided to have a rest, but a fellow qarabni, Amm Saeed, was awake to hand the qurban requested to the other church as soon as their man came for it. He came at 5:30am and parked his car in front of the side door because, for security reasons, no cars are allowed to park in front of the church’s main gate.
“Amm Saeed was carrying the freshly-baked qurban to the car,” Atta said, “when he saw a young man with a beard but no moustache, typical of Salafi Muslims, break into the church. He was dressed in a short white jilbab over white trousers and a white shawl on his head, and was holding a Qura’n in one hand as he hid his other hand in his jilbab. He moved closer and closer to Amm Saeed and, menacingly staring at him, shouted: ‘Why are you frightened?’ Amm Saeed told him to get out of the church, but the Salafi screamed ‘Allahu Akbar … Death to the apostates!” Amm Saeed shouted for help; his shouts woke up Atta and hastily brought to the scene the other workers in the church.
The Salafi got out an iron rod that had been concealed in the folds of his jibab, and hit Amm Saeed on the head, bruising him. When Atta came to the rescue, he was also hit and his hands injured.
The assailant rushed into the church and, with his iron rod, hit at the icons. Fortunately, it was too early for the congregation to have come, and there were only very few persons in the front pews, and the priest behind the sanctuary drape setting up the altar for Mass. Amm Saeed, Atta, and the other workers managed to floor the assailant and prise the iron rod out of his hand. Once he was overpowered, they handed him to the police.
“But it was obvious,” Atta said,” that he was unrepentant. ‘Let me kill those infidels,’ he shouted at the policeman. “Give me your gun so I may kill them. If you don’t, you’d be an infidel like them.”
19 November 2018