|10 MARCH 2011|
Egypt's Christian protestors under violent attackA Muslim mob has turned on Christian demonstrators who were protesting in Cairo against the burning down of a church by Islamists. The ensuing violent clashes left 13 dead and 140 wounded.
Thousands of Christians took to the streets of the capital this week after the destruction of a church in the village of Soul, 30km from Cairo, on Saturday evening. A Muslim mob attacked the Christian demonstrators, resulting in deadly clashes.
The violence broke out around Mokattam garbage village, where Barnabas Fund has been helping the Christian residents with various projects over several years. A number of homes in the vicinity were looted and torched by the mob during the violence.
A senior church leader from Cairo said:
Large groups of Muslim youths from surrounding areas began to form and attack the Christians. Within hours there were many thousands in the fight, and the attackers had all kinds of weapons, whereas the village youth mostly had stones. Although the army sent in several tanks, they apparently did nothing until later in the evening, when they are reported by eye witnesses to have shot in the air indiscriminately. It is quite obvious that this was a well-organized and deliberate attack on Christians.The incident that sparked the Christian protest involved a mob of nearly 4,000 Muslims, who attacked Christian homes and destroyed the church in Soul by exploding gas cylinders inside. In an act of "collective retribution", the Muslims were seeking revenge against all the Christians in the village because of a personal dispute involving one Christian and a Muslim family.
Severe anti-Christian violence has also broken out elsewhere in the region. Mobs of Muslim extremists have been rampaging through western Ethiopia this week, setting dozens of churches and Christian homes ablaze after accusing a Christian of desecrating a copy of the Quran.
Egyptian authorities target ChristiansSince the overthrow of President Mubarak, Christians have come under a series of attacks by Islamists and the authorities. On 22 February, church leader Dawoud Botrous was found stabbed to death at his home near Assiut, Upper Egypt.
That same week, Egyptian armed forces stormed ancient Christian centres, firing live ammunition at the Christians, wounding some, and demolishing fences they had erected to protect themselves during the revolutionary protests.
And Christians in Minya are seemingly being targeted by the province's governor, who has ordered the demolition of a church-run welfare centre for disabled children and young people. Last Monday (28 February) more than 10,000 Christians protested against the governor, who on the same day had ten newly-built houses belonging to three Christian families demolished.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, said:
Christians in Egypt are reeling from this barrage of assaults that are coming from all angles. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the Egyptian revolution has made the country's Christians even more vulnerable to attack – not just by unrestrained Islamists but also by the authorities. They need our prayers and practical help today.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Egypt's Christian protestors under violent attack (Barnabas Fund)
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