Minya security directorate: there is no sectarianism, just 'feuds between neighbours'

Wednesday 17-08-2016 12:33 PM

The burnt and destroyed Evangelical Church are seen in Mallawi at Minya governorate, about 245 km (152 miles) south of Cairo August 17, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

CAIRO, Aug 17 (Aswat Masriya) - The head of the Minya security directorate, Faisal Dwaidar, said that there is no sectarian strife in the Upper Egypt governorate, and that the recent violence is a result of clashes between neighbours.   

"Minya doesn't have a sectarian problem... I went to the Koum al-Loufy village and I found the residents living together normally," Dwaidar said.

Attacks on Christians in Minya came after rumours that a Christian woman's son had an affair with a Muslim woman, according to the local church and witnesses.

The Christian man fled Karam village with his wife and children after he received threats, while his parents filed a complaint on May 19 to security officials reporting those threats, according to the local Coptic Orthodox church's statement then.

On May 20, a group of 300 armed individuals attacked seven houses where Christians reside, looting them and setting them ablaze, causing an estimated loss of EGP 350,000, and stripped the mother naked out on the street, the local church said.

"All the events that happened in the governorate are because of differences between neighbours and have nothing to do with religious beliefs," he added.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had ordered state institutions to take the necessary measures to maintain order and restore properties after the attacks and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The Christian woman, Soaad, had accused three men of attacking her and stripping her naked in front of her home.

Egypt’s interior ministry previously said it arrested ten in connection with the case.

 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."

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