Fires pressure al-Karm Copts into ‘conciliating’ with attackers

21-08-2016 11:25 AM

Nader Shukry

The Coptic villagers of al-Karm in Abu-Qurqas, Minya, some 250km south of Cairo, have been victims of fires that ate up fields and cattle sheds that they possessed. Yesterday, Friday 19 August, the two Copts Fadl Saad and Waguih Qassed together with other Copts filed complaints with Abu-Qurqas prosecution that their crops and cattle sheds were burned. They accused no specific person/s, since they had not actually seen who did it. The prosecution is investigating the incidents.


Al-Karm Copts fear that the fires come within efforts to pressure them into ‘conciliating’ with their attackers and hence relinquishing all their legal rights. But they insist that justice should be served and have, so far, resisted conciliation. The so-called conciliation is a custom widespread in rural Egypt where the local elders arbitrate out-of-court settlements between opponents with the purpose of achieving social peace. In case of attacks against Copts, however, conciliation has been notorious for coercing the Copts into accepting harsh, unjust terms to conciliate, in addition to having to give up all their legal rights—meaning they can get no justice through courts of law. Al-karm Copts have insisted on their legal rights and are waiting for the law to be implemented.


The story goes back to 24 May 2016 when a mob of fanatic Muslims attacked the Copts in al-Karm on a rumour that their was an affair ongoing between a Coptic man, 31-year-old Copt Danial Attiya and a Muslim woman in her early thirties from the local clan of Abu-Hgab. Attiya works in the business of animal feed and at the same time sale of electric home appliances. He is married and has four daughters. Abu-Hgab’s husband divorced her. Islam bans Muslim women from marrying or having romances with Christian men, but Muslim men may marry Christian women. This explains why affairs between Muslim women and Christian men invariably lead to incendiary situations.

In al-Karm, two Coptic men: Attiya Ayad Farag, 58, and his son Ayad Farag, a 30-year-old labourer, sustained superficial injuries. Seven homes, four belonging to Copts and three to Muslims, as well as a plastics warehouse belonging to a Copt were burned.


Once the rumour spread, scores of Muslims gathered in front of the Attiya home and set his house on fire. The violence spread to other Coptic houses, and many Copts were also attacked. Attiya himself had hurriedly move outside the village, taking his family along. His parents, however, remained behind and were both attacked by the Muslim mob. The father, Attiya Farag, and another of his sons, Ayad, were injured.  The mother, 68-year-old Suad Thabet was dragged into the street, stripped naked, and beaten.

The police detained five suspects who were later released on bail.




Watani International

20 August 2016


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