Muslims attack Egyptian Copts; Again

Thursday, August 11, 2011

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

CAIRO, EGYPT (Worthy News)-- Muslims attacked the Coptic Christians of Nazlet Faragallah village in Egypt's Minya province Sunday evening; the assault continued unabated into the following morning.

One Copt was killed as homes were looted and torched by their Muslim neighbors, who also enlisted the aid of fellow Muslims from four neighboring villages; the attack began at approximately 8 p.m. after the daylight Ramadan fast ended.

According to eyewitnesses, thousands of Muslims attacked the village from all sides while firing automatic weapons and throwing Molotov Cocktails.

The home of Father Youanes, pastor of St. George Church, was the first to be attacked; he was beaten and his home looted and torched.

Maher Nassif Tobias was murdered in his own home, which was looted, along with all his livestock.

Security forces arrived four hours after the attack began, but their presence proved ineffective.

"They only had batons in their hands, and were unable to control the situation," said a Copt resident. "Our village is surrounded by corn fields. The Muslims came into the village to loot and quickly disappeared in the fields, the police could not follow them. They were coming from all directions at the same time."

The day before the attack, Muslims reportedly stoned St. George's, breaking five of its windows. However, authorities in Minya claimed the attack on Nazlet was caused by Copts firing at Muslims as they emerged from a mosque that Sunday afternoon; Copts quickly denied the charge.

After the violence, three Muslims and three Copts were arrested, even though none of the Copts were involved in the incidents.

"Security is doing its balancing act again," said one of the villagers. "They will use these Copts, who were arrested at random, to bargain for their freedom in exchange for village Copts giving up their rights during the 'reconciliation meeting.'"

The "reconciliation meeting" was scheduled for Tuesday.