The Copts of the village of Koum al-Loufi in Minya, some 250km south of Cairo, held a protest today, Friday 22 July, in front of Minya governorate building to demand the return of an 18-year-old Coptic woman, Rifqa Malak, who went missing a week ago.
The Copts claim the young woman was kidnapped in order to pressure them into conciliating with the Muslims who attacked them on 29 June [http://en.wataninet.com/coptic-affairs-coptic-affairs/sectarian/second-time-in-three-weeks-copt-homes-burned-on-suspicion-of-building-church/16772/] on suspicion that the Coptic villagers were building a church. Five Copts’ houses were burned. The police arrested 19 Muslim suspects.
The Koum al-Loufi Copts are being pressured by the Muslim villagers to ‘conciliate’ with the attackers, that is to reach an out-of-court settlement upon which they relinquish their legal rights. The terms of traditional conciliations, which are orchestrated by the Muslim village elders and the local politicians and security officials, have invariably been oppressive to the Copts. Copts have thus always resisted such a move, and have thus been threatened and pressured till they would accept conciliation. The Khalaf [extended] family whose houses were burned have been denied access to their homes and are thus crammed into a garage owned by one of their relatives for temporary residence. They have been beaten up in the village streets.
Still resisting conciliation and demanding that the law should be applied to bring the offenders to justice, the Copts of Loum al-Loufi now claim that the young Coptic woman was kidnapped in order to be used as a negotiation chip to pressure them into reconciling with their attackers.
Minya security chief general Reda Tabliya met representatives of the Coptic demonstration and promised that the young woman will be found and returned within 48 hours. He said the police were already following a thread they believe would lead to the kidnappers.
22 July 2016