Thursday and Friday 28 and 29 November saw the Copts in the villages of Badraman and Nazlet Ebeid in Minya region in Upper Egypt come under attack from extremist Muslims. In case of Badraman, the violence erupted in the wake of a rumour of an illicit affair between a Coptic man , Shenouda Louis Habib, and a Muslim women; Islam allows no relations between Muslim women and non-Muslim men. In Nazlet Ebeid, the clashes occurred over a piece of land which both the Muslim and Copt laid claim to.
Terrorised and injured
In Badraman, the Muslim woman in question had gone missing from her home for three days. Her family accused the Copt of being behind her disappearance, but she reappeared, and was given a medical examination which proved she had been subject to no molestation. A conciliation session was held by Badraman mayor between the two families and an agreement was reached in which it was decided that should any of the disputing parties cause any more trouble they would be fined EGP100,000.
It was thought that peace should reign after that, but Muslim extremists incited the villagers against the Copts. In a rampage that continued throughout Thursday and Friday and to cries of Allahu akbar (Allah is the greatest), the Muslim villagers shot gunfire in the air and went about looting and burning the houses of the Copts, including the homes of Habib’s family and relatives. Habib was injured.
The terrorised Copts sent out cries for help, but the police were slow to arrive. The rioters spared neither the poor Copts nor the aged, children, or disabled. Those who had not yet been attacked had to watch in horror as the mob went about the streets with the electric utilities, equipment, and furniture they had stolen from other Copts’ homes which they then set on fire, realising their turn came next and helpless to defend themselves or their children.
To compound matters, news circulated of a Muslim villager, Hamada Saber, who was shot; some villagers say he was shot while outside the village when he was caught stealing a motorcycle. However, the Muslim villagers accused the Copts of killing him.
The police arrived after three Coptic houses and several shops had already been burned, and dispersed the rioters using tear gas. They arrested four Copts: Louis Habib, Reda Louis, Nabil Gad, and Soliman Louis. Incidentally, they were among the major victims of the Muslim attack. A number of Muslims were also caught, but no information is yet known about how many or who they are.
Preliminary estimates reveal that some six Coptic houses were burned and a large number of homes and shops looted and set alight. Four Copts were seriously injured, among them the 12-year-old girl Yvonne Bushra Iqladius whom the Muslim attackers threw form the second floor of her house. She escaped death, but suffers several fractures.
Loss of lives
In the Coptic-majority village of Nazlet Ebeid, a dispute arose over a piece of land owned by Mary Sadeq and Ishaq Yacoub who were going to build a house on the land, and Mamluk Mohamed Allam who laid claim to it, and who comes from the neighbouring village of Hawarta which has a Muslim majority.
The personal dispute escalated into a fight between the Muslims and Copts of the two villages. One Copt, Girgis Kamel Habib, 27, was shot and died instantly. Two Muslims also lost their lives: Suad Mahmoud Hegazi, 36, and Mohamed Saber Shehata, 25, years. Some 20 Copts were injured and moved to hospital.
The police contained the situation.
30 November 2013