Egypt: Coptic Christians say they can’t get justice

December 24, 2020

Persecution of Christians in Egypt: the acquittal of these men for assaulting an elderly grandmother is, sadly, just one case among many. Coptic Orthodox Christians are all too frequently persecuted for their faith. Not only the Copts are vulnerable, but also our Greek Orthodox brothers and sisters. Christians in Egypt generally suffer sporadic discrimination, harassment, and outright persecution.

As we see so often, frequently Egyptian officials do little or nothing to alleviate their plight. While the governor in this case has made some welcome statements, it remains to be seen whether he will follow through with effective action to prevent this kind of mob violence in the future.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Egypt, see here.

“Coptic Christians in Egypt say they can’t get justice,” The Media Line, December 24, 2020:

Egypt’s Christian community is frustrated and angry after an Egyptian court acquitted three Muslim men in an assault on an elderly grandmother, in a case illustrating the sectarian tensions in the country that has dragged on for several years.

The court in Minya-Upper Egypt handed down its decision last week in the 2016 assault, which included the stripping naked of then-70-year-old Suad Thabet and the burning down of her home, and four other homes, as well as the injury of three other Copts.

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) in a statement after the verdict was announced on December 17 warned of “the repercussions of not condemning those involved in these attacks, which entrench the absence of justice and discrimination between citizens on the basis of religion, and encourage the recurrence of such sectarian attacks, in addition to what they represent in terms of a message of tolerance of incidents of violence against women in a public forum.”

On May 20, 2016, the village of Al-Karm in the Abu Qurqas district, south of the Minya Governorate, located 180 miles south of Cairo, was the site of sectarian attacks on several Christian residents of the village, in the wake of rumors of an affair between a local Christian man and a Muslim woman. When a Muslim mob did not find the man at home, they thew Thabet and a daughter-in-law out in the street and stripped Thabet of her clothing in front of her home. Meanwhile, a gang of angry Muslims roamed the village streets chanting angry and hostile slogans at Christian citizens in general.

“They dragged me out, burned the house, threw me in front of the house, and took off my clothes just as my mother gave birth to me … they did not even leave my underwear, and I shouted and cried,” Thabet said. “And then our Lord saved me from their hands … And people took me inside their house, I took an old jalabiya [a traditional garment in Upper Egypt] and put it on.”  When some of the assailants returned looking for Thabet, her neighbors told them that she was not there.

The southern province of Minya is home to a large number of Copts, Egypt’s biggest Christian community….