Human rights groups have been speaking out against what they say is an alarming escalation of violence in several attacks against Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Christian community, with police providing little if any protection for victims.
Mina Thabet, programme director for minorities and vulnerable groups with the Egyptian Commission of Rights and Freedoms, told AFP that attacks on Coptic Christians have been "escalating in a very short time."
There have been a number of reports in separate Egyptian villages in recent weeks of large Muslim mobs torching Christian houses, preventing them from establishing churches and gathering to worship. Christians have been beaten and threatened against practicing their faith, while police and government officials have been failing to punish those responsible, Thabet said. more >>
At least 15 Muslims were arrested in the Egyptian village of Abu Yacoub on Saturday for setting fire to Coptic Christians' homes and a nursery, allegedly because they feared they would be used as churches.
The persecution of Christians has been on the rise in Egypt this past year, with similar attacks being reported in other villages. The state-owned Ahram Online reported that five buildings, along with a nursery, were attacked and burned down Friday night by the Muslim mob that wrongly believed the homes and nursery would be used as Christian houses of worship.
The Ministry of Endowments has reportedly sent representatives to Minya to talk to local villagers in response to the arson attack, and encourage them to avoid violence and instead choose "love and cooperation." more >>
A mob of 300 Muslims has torched at least four Coptic Christian houses in the Kom El Loofy village in Samalout, Upper Egypt, because the Christians wanted to build a church on their land.
"The torching of Coptic homes in Kom El Loofy underscores once more the urgent need for Egypt's House of Representatives to enact a law regulating the construction and renovation of houses of worship in a manner that guarantees the right of Christians to worship in community with others," said Christian Solidarity Worldwide Senior Press Officer Kiri Kankhwende.
"We echo the Bishophric of Samaloot in condemning the imposition of reconciliation meetings as a replacement for the rule of law because they impose ad-hoc, unjust and often un-constitutional conditions on the victims of sectarian violence and perpetuate impunity for the perpetrators. Rule of law must be upheld, and must include security services nationwide serving every community without discrimination on the grounds of religion." more >>
An Islamic State affiliate in Egypt has claimed responsibility for the slaying of a Coptic priest who was murdered in the Sinai Peninsula on Thursday.
According to AFP, the IS branch (also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh) in the Sinai Peninsula posted a statement on its social media accounts claiming that a "squad" of its gunmen were responsible for shooting and killing 46-year-old Coptic Priest Raphael Moussa in the town of El-Arish.
Reports indicate that Moussa might have been followed before he was killed. According to church spokesman Boulos Halim, Moussa had earlier left a church where he attended mass. more >>
A mass wave of Christian girls and women are being kidnapped and raped by Muslim men in Upper Egypt, a persecution watchdog group has warned.
International Christian Concern said in a report on Thursday that most of the girls who are kidnapped are never heard from again.
ICC has documented the case of a 16-year-old girl named Sandy Shehata who is one of the few to have managed to escape her captors and return to her family. more >>
A Muslim mob torched and looted the homes of 80 Christian families in the Al-Beida village in Egypt, looking to punish them for wanting to turn one of the buildings in the village into a church so they can worship.
International Christian Concern, which reports on persecution against Christians around the world, said the violence occurred last Friday.
One witness, Christian resident Mousa Zarif, recalled the events: "On Friday afternoon, following Friday noon prayer, a great deal of fanatic Muslims gathered in the front of the new house of my cousin, Naim Aziz, during its construction because of a rumor spread in the village that this building would be turned into a church." more >>