Egyptian NGO warns of rising sectarian strife in Minya

Tuesday 19-07-2016 03:53 PM

Egyptian Christians - Reuters

CAIRO, Jul 19 (Aswat Masriya) -  The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said on Monday that it was "disturbed" with the heightening sectarian violence in Minya, and warned of the state's approach to these violations.

The way that state institutions deal with the situation "reproduces the environment of fear," EIPR wrote, adding that this environment facilitates the turning "of a civil dispute into sectarian strife, violence, and consequent collective punishment."

A Christian priest said on Sunday that the family of another priest were subjected to attacks in Egypt’s Minya province, with one of their Christian neighbours stabbed to death.

Anba Makarios, the top Coptic Orthodox Christian cleric in the southern Egyptian province, told Aswat Masriya that a member of the Christian family was injured after he was stabbed in the face.

An eyewitness, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Aswat Masriya that a quarrel erupted outside the house of Metaos Najib Hanna, a priest in the province’s Tahna al-Jabal village, “after two Muslim youth insulted the priest’s [7-year-old] son while he was playing outside the house.”

The priest’s father and his son-in-law, in addition to a female Christian neibhbour, were injured, the eyewitness added.

In May, 300 people attacked and burnt down the houses of Christian residents in another village, Karam, in the same province of Minya, and an old Christian woman was stripped naked and paraded through the village’s streets over a rumour that her son had an affair with a Muslim woman.

EIPR has recorded at least 77 cases of sectarian violence in Minya from the 2011 Uprising until Jan. 2016, including attacks on churches, and other religious buildings and schools.

Coptic Orthodox Christians make up about 10 per cent of Egypt's population and are the Middle East's largest Christian community.

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