No one yet caught in Fayoum attack against church-owned building

18-01-2013 06:39 PM

Nader Shukry

Investigations by the police and the public prosecution of Itsa, Fayoum, in the case of the demolition by Islamists of a licensed community centre in the village of Fanous in Fayoum

some 100km southwest of Cairo three days ago are ongoing, but have yet to yield results.
Thousands of Islamists in the village of Fanous in Fayoum, some 100km southwest Cairo, attacked a building that is yet under construction and that is owned by a Coptic society affiliated to the local Mar-Girgis (St George) church. A rumour had been circulated in the village that the building was a church. 
The building, the area of which is 45sq.m, was erected on a 100sq.m plot of land donated to the Church by the Coptic villager Fahmy Abdel-Sayed. Construction began two months ago once all the official approvals were secured. The first floor was erected and the columns for the second floor, when calls for ++jihad++ were shouted through the microphones of the local mosque for Muslims to defend Islam against the Christians who were “building a church”. More than 5000 Muslims from Fanous and neighbouring villages, mobbed the building and pulled it down to the ground, to cheers from bystanders and ululations by the village women. Some attackers had come carrying old electricity poles, while the others had climbed up the building with hammers and axes. The Copts who lived close by did not dare interfere. 
The police did not arrive till everything was over. Fathers Ermiya and Raphael of St George’s filed a report with the prosecution. 
Fanous is home to more than 60 families. The community centre would have served them as well as the Copts in neighbouring villages who have no church or services within a 15km circle. 
The lawyer John Thabet who represents the Church told ++Watani++ that no-one had been charged with any outlaw activity, even though the village is a very small one, the calls for ++jihad++ were heard all over the place through the mosque microphone, and the culprits are known. “If the authorities wish to identify the culprits,” Mr Thabet said, “nothing can be easier. We asked that the ++Umda’s++ (mayor) testimony should be heard, since he was a live witness to the attack, but this has not yet been done.”
As to re-erecting the demolished building, he said that this does not concern the prosecution; it concerns the administrative authority in Fayoum. The losses, Mr Thabet said, are estimated at some EGP80,000.
Watani International
18 January 2013
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