Just three weeks after a suicide bomber killed 27 people, mostly women and children, in an attack on the main Coptic cathedral near Cairo comes a new attack in Alexandria.
According to Tahrir News, a Christian businessman was murdered by an Islamist earlier today for selling alcohol in his shop. The arrested suspect came up behind the victim and slashed his throat while he was smoking shisha in front of the store.
— Marwa Farid (@MarwaMfarid) January 3, 2017
Images from a surveillance video show the attack.
— التحرير الإخباري (@TahrirNews) January 3, 2017
Some reports indicate that the victim had previously agreed to not sell alcohol during Ramadan, which ran from the beginning of June to the beginning of July last year.
It should be noted that there are several liquor store chains that operate in Egypt, including goCheers and Drinkies, and beer is widely available at most restaurants in Cairo and Alexandria.
This incident appears to be an act of “hisba,” or enforcement of Islamic law.
Apparent act of “hisba” in Alexandria, Egypt. Bearded man walked up to sitting Christian man & slit his throat. Victim sold alcohol. https://t.co/ImVOlnAL3z
— Mokhtar Awad (@Mokhtar_Awad) January 3, 2017
As a report by Lorenzo Vidino on incidents of “hisba” in Europe shows, some interpretations allow any Muslim to enforce Islamic prohibitions, not just police.
I noted here at PJ Media following the Cairo cathedral bombing last month that attacks targeting the Coptic Christian community in Egypt — the largest population of Christians in the Middle East — are a fairly common occurrence.
But many of these sectarian attacks take place in Upper Egypt, where millions of Coptic Christians live, and less so in the more Western-influenced Cairo and Alexandria.
Back in August I reported on my April 2014 trip into Upper Egypt to inspect some of the 70+ churches and monasteries torched by the Muslim Brotherhood in August 2013 following the dispersal of the protests in support of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a former spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood.
In September 2015, I helped arrange and escorted a congressional delegation to Egypt, where we met with Pope Tawadros and other ranking Coptic church officials to discuss the campaign of attacks targeting Christians.
And just this past October I was in the cathedral compound where the church was bombed last month.
Over several years, I’ve seen these sectarian attacks escalating despite efforts by the Egyptian government to rebuild the churches destroyed in 2013.
Bishop Macarius of Minya, whom I met with in April 2014, has been outspoken about the need for greater action on the part of the Egyptian government to discourage the attacks and punish offenders.
But with Islamist movements on the move throughout the Middle East and Asia, and increasing Muslim populations in Europe, we’re seeing the targeting of Christians becoming not just a regional problem, but a global problem.
Shock report: 1 Christian was killed every 6 minutes last year because of their faith https://t.co/SyZ9X7SVuI
— Billy Hallowell (@BillyHallowell) January 3, 2017
Sadly, that will leave much more reporting on the topic for the foreseeable future.