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Christian families evicted from Egyptian village after Muslim violence

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Egypt

Eight Christian families have been evicted from an Egyptian village in a “humiliating” agreement made to placate Muslims who had twice attacked Christian property there.

Christian-protestors_4X3.jpg
Hundreds of Christians and activists protested against the evictions
Image source: www.aina.org

Three “reconciliation meetings” involving Christian and Muslim representatives were held at the Kobry-el-Sharbat village police headquarters following an onslaught of violence by a mob of Muslims on 27 January. They looted and torched homes and shops belonging to Christians in response to a rumour that a Christian man had taken illicit photos of a Muslim woman.

Three days later, Muslims attacked Christians in Kobry-el-Sharbat, Alexandria, for a second time, setting fire to three homes.

There is a feeling of humiliation... a local Christian

During talks, Muslims demanded the eviction of all Christians from the village because “Muslim honour had been damaged”. They later threatened that if eight families were not evicted by 3 February, all remaining 54 Christian families would be subjected to violence after Friday prayers, calling the day “Friday of Eviction” and “Friday of Clean-up”.

In an effort to prevent further attacks, an agreement was made in which eight Christian families were evicted and the assets of one of them, the wealthy Abeskhayron Soliman family, will be sold. The family’s wealth is estimated at more than 20 million Egyptian pounds (£2m; US$3m). If the terms of the agreement are not implemented, all Christians in Kobry-el-Sharbat will be attacked and their homes and property destroyed.

One local Christian said, “There is a feeling of humiliation and being completely under the mercy of the radical Muslims.”

Christian MP Dr Emad Gad said, “Within a tribe, in the desert, or in a tent, you apply these unofficial reconciliation sittings, but in Egypt we have civil law.”

He attempted to bring up the matter in parliament on 7 February, but his request, supported by 22 liberal MPs, was ignored by the parliament speaker, Dr Saad el Katatny of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.

This sparked a protest rally involving hundreds of Egyptian Christians and activists from various political groups. They were prevented from reaching parliament by the security forces.

At a meeting attended by several MPs on 13 February, Egyptians Against Religious Discrimination presented a petition, signed by 13 NGOs, to the speaker, criticising the military and security authorities for not protecting Christians and for supporting “the shameful reconciliation sittings”.

Liberal and Christian MPs said that there has to be an end to collective punishment (when Muslims take revenge upon an entire Christian community over a dispute with one of its members), forced eviction of Christians and reconciliation meetings. They insisted that the rule of law must prevail.

Urgent prayer request

Barnabas Aid yesterday received an urgent prayer request from a church leader in Zagazig, Skarkia, Egypt. He referred to the forced eviction of the families from Kobry-el-Sharbat among several incidents of anti-Christian violence and persecution throughout the country. In his own village, Muslims have torched the homes of Christians as well as a nearby church; in Qena, he said, Christians have been killed, and in Assuit, they have been asked to pay the jizya, a humiliating tax imposed by Muslims on non-Muslims.

He said: “Please pray and cry with us, ask our Lord to save us.”

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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    • Heavenly Father, we lift up to You today the heartbroken family of Mary Sameh George, a young Christian woman who was killed in an Islamist attack on a church in Egypt. We pray that You will comfort them and give them Your peace. We thank You that Mary was not ashamed to make her allegiance to You known, even taking the risk of provoking murderous anger against herself. We pray also for the families of three others who were killed in this attack at a church in Ain Shams, a suburb of Cairo, on 28 March. Lord God, may the hostility of Muslim Brotherhood supporters towards Christians in Egypt be restrained. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 20 hours ago

    • Give thanks that as believers in some areas of Egypt continue to be at risk of violence from Islamists, Barnabas Aid is able to provide various kinds of practical help for needy Christians there, especially those most affected by the political turmoil. We are supporting Christian families in Upper Egypt with housing costs, medicines, food and schooling for their children, and 30 Christian students who were on the verge of dropping out of education because of lack of money have received funding to complete their education. Pray for all those receiving this help, that they will also be encouraged spiritually. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Jul 2014 00:00

    • Give thanks that the authorities in Egypt are pursuing justice for the Christian community following widespread violence against them by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood last summer. Christians were scapegoated by the Islamists for the downfall of President Mohammed Morsi. On 14 August, mobs torched scores of churches, Christian institutions and private property in what was described as the worst single day of violence against the Egyptian Church since the 14th century. Over 100 Muslims have been charged in connection with the attacks; at the time of writing they were due to stand trial for rioting, attacking citizens and targeting the churches and homes of Christians. Pray that justice will be done and restitution made to churches and individuals who suffered material losses. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Jul 2014 00:00

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