Fanatic Muslims have set fire to four Coptic-owned houses in the Minya village of Koum al-Loufi in Samalout, 230km south of Cairo, on suspicion that one of them would be turned into a church. Three of the houses incurred severe damages.
Two Copts, Ashraf Khalaf and his brother Ibrahim Khalaf, were in the process of building new homes for their families when a rumour spread that one of these houses would be turned into a church. Even though the police made the Khalafs sign pledges that the houses they were building would be used for residence and not for practising religious rites, a fanatic Muslim mob waged an attack against the Copts in the village during the late hours of Wednesday 29 June.
To cries of Alluhu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest) they set fire to four Coptic-owned houses, among them the two owned by the Khalafs. The Muslim mob blocked the way before the fire fighting truck which was attempting to enter the village, and clashed with the police. Ibrahim Khalaf said that the mob beat their children.
“We rescued the children from the hands of the fanatics as they continued to scream Allahu Akbar,” he said. Ashraf Khalaf’s family was turned out of their home and is currently homeless.
The police arrested three offenders. Investigations are ongoing. The government has announced it is compensating the Copts for their losses, to the tune of EGP40,000 in all.
Anba Pavnotius, Bishop of Samalout, said that the village of Koum al-Loufi is home to some 1800 Copt. They village, he said, had no church, so the villagers had to travel to the nearest village that included a church to worship, Ten years ago, he said, an application had been filed with the relevant authorities for licence to build a church in Koum al-Loufi, but no licence was given until now.
On 17 June, Coptic-owned homes in the village of al-Beida in Amriya, south of Alexandria, were also burned by Muslim fanatics, on suspicion that a house under construction would be turned into a church. Two Copts were injured, a number of Coptic homes were plundered and damaged, and two Coptic families were forced out of their homes and rendered homeless. The crisis has yet to be resolved, and the Copts to go back home.
http://en.wataninet.com/coptic-affairs- coptic-affairs/sectarian/amriya- copts-attacked- on- suspicion-of- prayer/16762/
http://en.wataninet.com/coptic-affairs- coptic-affairs/sectarian/praying- without-permit/16767/
30 June 2016