Egypt: 100 arrested in riot over Facebook comments “insulting” to Islam

Monday, November 30, 2020

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A hundred people were arrested for assault and rioting Wednesday evening after a large group of Islamists attacked Coptic Christian houses and a church in the village of Deir El-Bersha in the Minya governorate, Agenzia Fides reports. The rioting was triggered by Facebook comments made by a young Coptic man that were considered insulting to Islam and the prophet Muhammed.

Although tensions are known to exist between Coptic Christians and Muslims in Egypt, authorities have stated that eruptions of violence are uncommon, Middle East Monitor reports. This time, however, Molotov cocktails and stones were hurled and shops were ransacked. According to Agenzia Fides, an elderly Copt woman suffered burns when a fire was set in her home.

Witnesses said Muslim villagers also harassed Copts at their Abu Siffin Church during a religious service, MEM reported. A video of the rioting showed a number of people shouting: "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger."

Agenzia Fides reports that, in the past, efforts were made to resolve incidents such as this by calling "reconciliation meetings." Agenzia Fides says these meetings were “public gatherings imposed by local authorities in which authoritative members of different faith communities perform public acts of pacification.” However, some have reportedly questioned the efficacy of the approach.

There are approximately 15 million Coptic Christians in Egypt out of a total population of over 104 million.