Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood Mob Attacks Family of Coptic Christian Martyr Beheaded by ISIS in Libya
As the commemorative mass for the 21 Christians beheaded by ISIS in Libya was held on the 40th day after their deaths in the village of Al Our in the Minya region of Upper Egypt this past Friday, a mob identified by witnesses as Muslim Brotherhood protestors attacked the home of one of the martyr's families, set fire to the car of one of the mourners, and later lobbed molotov cocktails at the site of the church being constructed in their memory. Al Our village was the home of 13 of the Egyptian Coptic martyrs.
Daily News Egypt reports:
On Friday, scores of mostly young Muslims gathered in the Minya governorate after midday prayer, demonstrating in front of a church under construction there. They chanted that there is no way the church would be built.
After a while, the crowd vanished, but later in the night a smaller number of anonymous militants attacked the church with Molotov cocktails. In the attack, seven people were injured, and one car was left burning.
In February, Copts in Minya’s Our Village called for a church to be established in the village honouring 20 Coptic Egyptian workers beheaded in Libya. They died at the hands of Islamic State militants in Libya, according to religious freedoms researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) Ishak Ibrahim.
Thirteen of the beheaded Coptic workers were from the village. Ibrahim told Daily News Egypt that, during their funeral, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb said President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi agreed for the church to be built.
Coptic residents bought land and started the church’s construction, sparking protests from Muslim residents who were angered by the church. The Muslim residents were unhappy at the church’s proposed presence and its position at the entrance to the village.
A report yesterday by Al-Masry Al-Youm (AR) stated that the mob attacked the home of one of the martyr's families with bricks and stones, and that a car belonging to a mourner who had traveled to the village for the memorial mass was set on fire. The article cited witnesses identifying the mob participants as members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that seven protesters had been arrested.
Following the murder of the 21 Christians by ISIS in Libya, senior government officials, including the prime minister, flocked to the village to give their condolences, and announced that that "the Church of the Martyrs of Faith and Country of al-'Our" would be built in their honor at state expense with the permission of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
And yet after this weekend's attacks, the Coptic community in Al Our were forced by local authorities into an extra-judicial Islamic "reconciliation" meeting, where it was "agreed" that the church would be relocated, submitting to the violent protesters' demands, and that the seven arrested protesters would be freed, prompting criticism on Twitter:
Minority communities complain that the "reconciliation" meetings in Egypt almost always result in minorities having to make concessions while Muslim offenders are freed without having to face any judicial proceedings, as appears true in the present case.
Non-Muslims also complain about the active discrimination built into the Egyptian constitution stemming from the Ottoman era that prohibits the construction of any new church building, or even the repair of existing buildings, without a presidential decree.
Islamist groups use this constitutional provision to instigate sectarian attacks, and continue to use it in several cases to prevent the rebuilding of churches burned down or damaged by the Muslim Brotherhood across the country in August 2013 after the government's dispersal of Muslim Brotherhood protests in Cairo.