Muslim Mob Torches Christians' Homes in Egypt, Strip Elderly Woman Naked in Streets

Coptic Christian women attend at the Coptic mass prayers for the Egyptians beheaded in Libya, at Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, February 17, 2015.
Coptic Christian women attend at the Coptic mass prayers for the Egyptians beheaded in Libya, at Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, February 17, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

An Orthodox Coptic church south of Cairo has reported that seven Christian homes were torched and ransacked by an angry Muslim mob who also humiliated a Christian mother by stripping her naked after her son was allegedly involved in an affair with a Muslim woman.

The Associated Press reported that the attack occurred last week, with the Christian man in question having fled the village in Minya province.

Anba Makarios, Minya's top Christian cleric, explained that the Christian mother was dragged out of her home, was beaten, insulted, and stripped naked on the streets, with the Muslim crowd chanting Allahu Akbar, or "God is great."

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Makarios said police were given warnings that the Christian community in the village was in danger, but did nothing to prevent the attack.

"No one did anything and the police took no pre-emptive or security measures in anticipation of the attacks," he said, according to The Independent. "We are not living in a jungle or a tribal society. It's incorrect for anyone to declare himself judge, police and ruler."

The local governor in Minya, Tarek Nasser, has reportedly attempted to play down the incident, but said that members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood may have "exploited" the situation.

"Some irrational youths threw flammable missiles at the houses of Christians in the village and some women ran away in their nightgowns," Nasser said.

Details about the alleged affair are scarce, though AP noted that extramarital affairs between Christians and Muslims are taboo in Egypt, and such cases have often led to violent confrontations. What is more, Christian men are prohibited from marrying Muslim women, unless they renounce their faith and convert to Islam, though the same does not hold true for Muslim men.

The Coptic Christian community in Egypt has often found itself the target of extremist attacks, particularly in the wake of the political unrest that has gripped the North African country for the better part of the decade.

Criminal gangs have kidnapped several children of Christian families in recent years for ransom, while Christian girls have been lured away from their families by Muslim men, who forcibly convert them to their religion.

Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II also spoke out about the incident, Ahram Online reported, calling for peace and for people to resist further sectarian violence.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that the people behind the mob attack need to be held accountable for their actions.

El-Sisi called on officials to take "necessary measures to preserve public order, protect [citizens] and property within the rule of law."

The Minya province has the largest population percentage of Christians in all of Egypt, with 35 percent of the people identifying as followers of Jesus Christ.

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