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Concerns over violence against Copts

Nader Shukry - Madeleine Nader

13 Jul 2013 11:27 pm

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) has warned against the tidal wave of violence and incitement against Copts which the Islamists are waging since the downfall of the previous president

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights  (EIPR) has warned against the tidal wave of violence and incitement against Copts which the Islamists are waging since the downfall of the previous president, the Islamist Muhammad Mursi. Mursi was ousted on 3 July in the wake of the nationwide public protest which began on 30 June by some 33 million Egyptians, and which the army stepped in and backed.
Violence against Copts: everywhere, all the time
The EIPR expressed grave concern over the official, especially the security, response to the violence against Copts, which it described as slow and unsuccessful. The official apparatuses, an EIPR statement said, did nothing to protect the lives and property of the Coptic civilians under attack, even though they knew beforehand of these attacks.
The attack last week week against the Copts of the village of Nag Hassaan in Luxor, in the wake of the murder of a Muslim by an unknown assailant, left four Copts dead and a number of Coptic homes ruined and burned. The security officials did not intervene to protect the unarmed Coptic civilians despite the continuous pleas for help. 
A Coptic priest in North Sinai was murdered, which augmented the local climate of hostility towards Copts, causing the churches there to close. 
The day that Mursi was toppled, 3 July, saw an attack against a Catholic Church in the village of Dalaga in Minya was, Upper Egypt; and the looting and burning of another Protestant church in the same village. Coptic civilians were terrorised and attacked; one was killed and several injured.
In the Canal town of Port Said in the eastern Mediterranean coast of Egypt, the church of Mar-Mina was shot at  by unknown persons, leaving two Copts wounded. And in the western Mediterranean town of Marsa Matrouh, stones and rocks were thrown at the church of the Holy Virgin, resulting in broken windows and a damaged facade.
Security failure
Ishaq Ibrahim, who is in charge of the Religious Freedoms file at EIPR, told Watani that the Copts are being made to pay a heavy price for their participation in the 30 June protests that brought about the overthrow of Mursi. Even though they merely exercised their constitutional rights as Egyptian citizens, Islamists are penalising them for it, and for the participation of Pope Tawadros II with the various leaders in the Egyptian civilian community and the army in drawing the Roadmap for Egypt’s future. This Roadmap was read out by Colonel General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, on 3 July when Mursi was ousted.
The EIPR stressed its concern over the official disregard of the attacks against Copts, and warned that if sectarianism if left unchecked, it has the potential to augment attacks and division in the Egyptian community. It demanded that the interim government should speedily move to protect Egyptians and to work to bring an end to the incitement campaigns against Copts. It also demanded swift action to investigate and bring to justice the real culprits. 
A separate investigation the results of which should be made public, the EIPR said, should be conducted into the failure of the police apparatus to protect civilians and to abort sectarian violence.
Watani International 
13 July 2013

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