Violence against Christian Copts in Egypt escalated yesterday with reports that a mob of some 15,000 armed Muslims, using Molotov cocktails, guns, and clubs, violently attacked a vastly outnumbered crowd of Christians on the outskirts of Cairo. The Christians had been demonstrating in front of a television station and blocking a main road.
The Egyptian army, which was called to restore order, reportedly joined in the attack, shooting the Copts with live ammunition. Initial reports from Coptic sources indicate that nine Christians have been killed and over a hundred injured, scores seriously so. AP reports of the same incident state that six Christians and five Muslims were killed in what it describes as a “pitched battle” that lasted several hours.
The attacks started near St. Simon the Tanner Monastery in Mokatam Hills, near the Christian neighborhood near the capital known as “Garbage City.” Several garbage recycling plants and garbage trucks owned by the Copts were reportedly torched. The Christians were protesting last Friday’s burning of a Coptic church in Soul by a Muslim mob angered by a romantic relationship that violated sharia. (CBN reports that the Muslims had been incited to rid Soul of Christians by Mullah Ahmed Abu El-Dabah during mosque prayers on March 4.) Field Marshall Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, issued a statement that the torched church would be rebuilt by Easter, at the expense of the army, but on a new site located outside the village.
— Nina Shea is director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom.