(Photo: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
Officials in Egypt discovered a decapitated body in a cemetery on Thursday. The victim is believed to be the second Christian murdered by suspected militants in the span of a week.
An official who remained anonymous informed The Associated Press of the decapitated Christian in the Sinai Peninsula. They identified him as 60-year-old Magdy Habashi, a merchant who was abducted last week from the town of Sheikh Zweid.
Christians have found themselves the targets of hostility following the removal of President Mohamed Morsi as leader of the African country. On Saturday, an Egyptian Coptic priest was shot dead by masked men, following reports that the Muslim Brotherhood was seeking to punish Christians for supporting the protests that led to Morsi's ousting.
Attacks against Christians have also taken place in various parts across Egypt, with Coptic churches in Upper Egypt being robbed, burned, and fired at.
"Every Coptic home they loot, they torch afterwards – Muslim homes are spared," a local Coptic Christian was quoted as saying. "Most Copts are outside of the village, not knowing whether their homes are still there or looted and torched."
The socialist Tagammu Party in Egypt condemned these attacks, saying that the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to seize power by targeting demonstrators and those who opposed Morsi.
"In the face of angry demonstrations against them, and instead of listening to the voice of reason, the Brotherhood used automatic rifles and swords against unarmed demonstrators and killed children and threw them from the top of buildings. Egypt has never seen this brutality and it has nothing to do with religion, nationality or morality," a statement from the party read.
"The brutal crimes have extended to kill Christians, our partners in the homeland, for no reason but to scare them," the party continued. "If the army did not take action, how many children would die? How many Christians would fall? How many churches would be demolished? How many children would be massacred?"
Egypt's state prosecutor has ordered the arrest of Mohamed Badie, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, along with other senior officials for their role in inciting violence in the capital earlier this week, which led to the deaths of 50 people.
Morsi was removed from power by Egypt's military after millions took to the streets to protest against the country's first democratically elected president, accusing him of failing to meet economic goals and delivering poor social justice. Morsi was directly backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, which, many said, has been trying to establish Sharia Law in the country.
Christians are said to be "very happy" with Morsi's ousting, with Dr. Michael Youssef, founding pastor of the 3,000-member Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, sharing with The Christian Post on Monday that the Brotherhood had threatened Christians at gunpoint during the presidential elections.
"I know this firsthand because I know folks on the ground. In thousands of villages, during the election, they stood with guns outside the polling booths. And if a Christian wanted to go in to vote, they would say 'You go in, and we'll kill you.' And so hundreds of thousands of Christians couldn't vote," Youssef said.