Egyptian Government Fails to Protect Coptic Christians Amid Brutal Attacks


As attacks against the Coptic Orthodox Church escalate in Egypt, human rights advocates say that country’s government has not done enough to protect the Christian minority.

Christians have been stabbed, shot, and seen their houses and churches set on fire. Since May there have been at least one dozen attacks reported.

On June 30, a Coptic priest was shot in Al Arish, North Sinai. The Islamic State took credit for the attack and accused the priest of “waging war against Islam.”

Most attacks are happening the region around Minya, in the south. Because of a rumor about her son having a relationship with a Muslim woman, an elderly Coptic woman was stripped, beaten, and paraded through the streets in her hometown of Minya. She later forgave her attackers in a public video.

Despite her forgiveness, witnesses say the police were late and inefficient in responding to the situation.

“It is escalating in a very short time,” said Mina Thabet, with the Egyptian Commission of Rights and Freedoms, in response to attacks in Minya.

Thabet said that radical Islamists have a deeply rooted presence in local government and schools. Add a close to 40 percent illiteracy rate and 30 percent of the poorest villages are located there, people are easily manipulated.

“They are all factors,” Thabet said. “You can’t separate the economic and social factors from the equation. It’s a complicated equation.”

Coptic Bishop Makarious of al-Minya, the city with the highest concentration of Christians in Egypt, holds the government responsible for the continuous attacks on the Coptic Christians of Minya.

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