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Copts attacked and church burned in Beni-Sweif

Girgis Waheeb

11 Aug 2013 10:22 pm

A fight that broke out this morning between Copts and Muslims in the village of Diabiya in Beni-Sweif some 100km south of Cairo led to an all-out attack against the Coptic villagers. The fight was over a speed bump a Copt had built on the street in front of his home

A fight that broke out this morning between Copts and Muslims in the village of Diabiya in Beni-Sweif some 100km south of Cairo led to an all-out attack against the Coptic villagers. The fight was over a speed bump a Copt had built on the street in front of his home, to protect the children who always played outside form speeding vehicles. A Muslim driving a motorbike fell off as he crossed over the bump, and thus started the fight which then spread to include other Copts and Muslims.
As in other villages where Copts are no minority—in Diabiya they form some 50 per cent of the population, the Muslims rallied others from nearby villages to their help. They went on a rampage, assaulting Copts and attacking and burning anything that belonged to them. They used sticks, clubs, stones, rocks, swords and daggers, knives, sickles, guns, Molotov cocktails, and fireballs. They attacked Coptic homes, stables, and fields, and burned the church. The sanctuary, altars, icons, books, benches, were all eaten up by the flames, as was the baptistery, the furnace used to bake the host bread, the bookshop and the canteen. The church is now a ruin.   
Some 16 villagers, 10 Copts and six Muslims were injured and moved to hospital.
The situation was not contained till a reinforcement of security forces arrived to the village at around 6pm. By that time, a preliminary assessment of the losses indicated that, in addition to the church, some nine Coptic houses had been burnt, as well as two shops and a mill.
Watani International
11 August 2013


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