- (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)
Sunday’s deadly clashes between Egypt’s military and Coptic Christian protesters, which saw 26 people slaughtered, has been called an act of “genocide.”
“I thought this is a genocide act from the state of Egypt against minorities,” said Osama Henein, Managing Director of Chantalle Maria S.A.E., describing to The Christian Post how he felt upon seeing protesters gunned down and beaten.
Henein stated, “There have been numerous massacres of Christians by Islamic extremists since the 70’s but this is the first genocide act by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), the ruling state of Egypt.”
Egypt’s military prosecutor announced Thursday that his office would take over the investigation into Sunday’s clashes – a move that has further fanned the flames of criticism over the worst violence Egypt has seen since Hosni Mubarak was ousted.
As a result of this decision, the civilian prosecutor is no longer able to continue his own inquiry. The move has drawn criticism from activists and human rights groups, leery of the ruling generals’ commitment to forging a path to democracy, AP has reported.
"The military also does not do transparent investigations; it is simply run by orders," said Mohamed Zaree of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights.
Advocates blasted the military takeover of the investigation, saying it would not be impartial.
“The government has double standards regarding this act [slain protesters], affirming that the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) is legitimate in their forcible and aggressive treatment to protesters which resulted in 24 dead and hundreds injured,” Henein told CP.
He added, “The SCAF is blaming other parties from abroad [for] killing protesters without showing any evidence.”
In a press conference Wednesday, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces denied shooting at protesters and blamed them for the violence – claiming that soldiers’ weapons did not have live ammunition, AP wrote.
The Egyptian government has vowed to thoroughly inspect all disputes over the construction of churches around the country.
Military rulers met with Cabinet officials Thursday to discuss the disputed permits for Christian houses of worship that are not yet formally recognized as churches.
According to Henein, Christians have been asking since the 1970s for the right to build churches and to have high-ranked positions in the army, government, and universities.
“(The protesters) want to stop Islamic terrorism on Christians in Egypt,” he stated.
“Christians in Egypt need U.N. protection,” Henein urged.
Coptic Christians represent around 10 percent of Egypt’s 85 million population. According to the minority group, they are treated like second-rate citizens and want to see a change – which the government has pledged to make within the coming weeks.