By Joseph C. DeCaro, BosNewsLife Special Corespondent
CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)– Nearly a dozen injured Egyptian Christians, known as Copts, were recovering Monday, August 23, after they were attacked by an angry Muslim mob in the village of Shimi, a church leader and local Christians said.
The troubles began Friday, August 20, when the local Imam, Sheikh Tobah, called for jihad against all Christians living in Shimi, said local Reverend Ezra Nageh Christian Copts were assaulted over the next two days; 11 were hospitalized and many Copt youths were arrested, he added.
Security forces allegedly took at least one Copt to a police station where they were pressured him into accepting “reconciliation” with the attackers, Christians said. There was no comment from police. “I was told by the security authorities that for the sake of the Holy month of Ramadan, everyone ought to make peace,” Reverend Nageh told BosNewsLife in a statement.
(But) “I was against reconciliation, because I know that the culprits know that they can assault Copts, and in the end, it will boil down to Copts giving up all their rights with the reconciliation sessions.”
Muslims allegedly also attacked homes of Copts, beating the inhabitants and Copts found in nearby fields. “We are forced into reconciliation and in less than 24 hours, we are assaulted again,” said Ghali Tawfik, one of those attacked. “They have humiliated us,” added Maher Amin, another Copt victim.
“We were beaten and we could not do anything about it. We are weak and helpless and have to accept reconciliation. They will next come to our homes and rape our women, and we will not be able to do anything about it.”
After Police released the Copt victims who were initially detained at the station, they then arrested three Copts youths on old charges and transferred them to (Egyptian) State Security, Ezra said. “Egyptian State Security employs an old trick: detaining innocent Copts and fabricating crimes against them in order to force the church into accepting reconciliation,” he alleged.
“Are they waiting for us to be killed tomorrow and then they would think about the rule of law?”
Egypt’s government has come under international pressure to improve protection for the country’s Christian minority. Cairo says however that it is tackling Islamic extremism in the country.