Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, June 01, 2007

Recent attacks threaten Egypt’s Coptic Christians

The Muslim village of Bimha (or Bahma) witnessed the start of what looks to be another anti-Christian pogrom on May 11 as Muslims attacked their neighboring Coptic Christians, the ASSIST News Service reported Monday. The Copts, Egypt’s indigenous Christians, are now facing increasingly precarious circumstances.

Tensions have been building ever since the planned construction of St. Theodore, the sole church in a town of thirteen local mosques. Members of the church have traditionally met in the homes of fellow congregation members, but recently reached an agreement with local Muslim clergymen to create a formal place of worship. However, the building remains unfinished due to repeated attacks that have prevented its completion.

A reconciliation committee comprised of 50 Muslim sheikhs and 50 Coptic priests ordered that the village’s Muslim elders pay compensation to the Copts, but the Copts declined. “How can I accept money from someone who beat me and burned my house?” questioned one local church member. “It would be like being paid for the abuse. At the end of the day we all live together and we will continue to do so for generations to come."

Copts fear that the rising trend of radicalization among Muslims will only continue to encourage “ordinary Muslims” to wage war against their neighbors. And, with little action on the part of the Egyptian authorities to prevent or punish the attacks, they predict that things are going to get much worse before they begin to improve.

For the full article, click here.



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