Muslim Mob in Egypt Firebombs Christian Homes, Businesses

by | Nov 29, 2010 | Charisma Archive

 

Christians in a
small village in southern Egypt are rebuilding their lives and homes after
hundreds of Muslims rampaged through their community firebombing houses and
businesses over rumors of a romantic relationship between a Christian and a
Muslim.
 
At least 23 homes and numerous businesses, all Christian-owned, were
damaged or destroyed in the village of Al-Nawahid in Qena Governorate, 454
kilometers (282 miles) south of Cairo. Five people were injured, two
seriously.
 
The attack devastated the Christians of Al-Nawahid, said Badier Magdy
Demetry, 22.
 
“It has affected us in every way, financially, physically, spiritually –
everything,” Demetry said. “My brother saw the house after it was burnt down,
and he fainted. He couldn’t believe what happened to the house. Everybody is
living in sadness and desperation.”
 
The attack started on the evening of Nov. 15 when a throng of hundreds of
Muslims poured onto the streets chanting “God is great!” while brandishing
swords, knives, meat cleavers and shooting rifles in the air, according to
Ra’fat Samir, a human rights activist in Luxor.
 
The mob moved to four streets in the village where some 40 homes owned by
Christians are huddled together. The Christians fled as the crowd approached.
 
“People started to run away from their houses, from the top of their roofs
to the house next door, so they could escape with their wives and children,”
Demetry said. “Then they attacked us and set the houses on fire – more than 20
houses.”
 
Others were too afraid to leave their homes when they heard the gunfire,
rights activist Samir said.
 
“When they knew there was an attack, they all started to hide,” he
said.
 
Five people who couldn’t run quickly enough were injured, according to
Samir. Two 87-year-old men suffered head injuries, and the rest had injuries to
their arms and shoulders, he said.
 
The mob pelted the homes and businesses with rocks and then looted them.
They then torched the buildings with Molotov cocktails and bombs made out of
propane tanks. Numerous shops were destroyed along with a grocery store and a
business that sold animals to butchers. Also destroyed were farms and two water
pumps worth more than US$20,000 each. The pumps were
vital for transporting water from the Nile to farms in the arid,
agricultural-based community.
 
“They stole as much as they could, and whatever they couldn’t take, they
burned,” Demetry said. “There was screaming all over the village. We were
screaming and asking God to help us. We have never seen a night like that
before.”
 
The rioters were responding to a rumor that a 20-year-old Coptic man,
Hussam Naweil Attallah, was romantically involved with an 18-year-old Muslim
woman, whose name has not been released. Attallah knew the woman because he and
his family lived next door to her.
 
Someone had allegedly seen the two alone together near a cemetery. Attallah
and the woman were detained and then handed over to police. After subjecting the
young woman to a medical examination to confirm her virginity, authorities
decided the two had not been intimate, and the woman was released. Egypt’s State
Security Intelligence kept Attallah in its custody, presumably for his
protection. He is still in custody.
 
It is unclear who started a rumor about an illicit relationship, but Samir
said there is a feud going on in Al-Nawahid among three families for political
control of the area, and two of the families are inciting violence, using
Christians in the area as pawns to depose the current mayor.
 
Local police and area residents seemed to be aware unrest was coming before
the riot happened, Samir said. Church officials canceled St. George’s Day
services in anticipation of violence. Security forces had been posted near the
Christian area of Al-Nawahid for a few days, but for unknown reasons they moved
away shortly before the destruction started.
 
When the rampage began at 8 p.m., at the start of Eid al-Adha – the
Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice – local police were quickly outnumbered, and
military police were called. At 10 p.m. the new security detail surrounded the
area of the violent mob but did nothing to stop the attacks.
 
Security forces prevented firefighters deployed to the scene from entering
the area where fires were burning, according to Samir. When fire-fighting teams
eventually entered the area, Muslim groups had severed fire mains. The blazes
raged for four hours.
 
Two rioters were detained, according to local media reports. The use of
tear gas eventually broke up the mob.
 
After the rioting was over, Copts whose homes and property had been damaged
were rounded up and taken to a police station. They declined to cooperate with
the police, citing alleged irregularities in police reports and objections to
how officers conducted the investigation into the fires.
 
Initially police claimed that the fires started suddenly and that area
Muslims tried to help put them out. Samir said he thought the claim was dubious
at best.
 
“The fires started at the same time in 23 houses?” he said.
 
Demetry was less diplomatic. “We saw them,” he said. “We saw them, one by
one, doing it.”
 
According to Samir, police did not let the victims report the names of the
people who attacked their homes or report damages. He also said police did not
take any information about men who suffered physical injuries. The group of
victims has obtained a lawyer to take both criminal and civil action against the
attackers.
 
“As long as the police fail to make strong charges against these people,
these problems will keep going for years,” Samir said. “Because they try to hide
the truth.”
 
Meantime, victims like Demetry and his family are left to sift through the
rubble and try to rebuild their lives. He said his brother is still trying to
cope.
 
“His whole apartment was turned to ashes,” Demetry said. “Even the plaster
[from the walls] was on the ground. They even tried to break the ceramic floor
and take it.”
 
There are many similarities between this month’s attack and an attack that
happened in November 2009 in the village of Kom al-Ahmar, also in Qena
Governorate. For several days, mobs swept through the village burning
Christian-owned houses and businesses after a rumor started that a Christian
man, Girgis Baroumi Girgis, then 21, raped a Muslim girl, then 12. Samir said
people often use rumors in Qena to incite violence against the Christian
minority.
 
“When people want to make a problem, they make up a story that a Christian
boy is in love with a Muslim girl or vice versa,” Samir said.
 
Numerous Coptic human rights activists and some journalists in Egypt have
called the rape accusation into question. They cite the conflicting accounts
from the alleged victim, physical evidence that seems to contradict an
accusation of sexual assault and lack of witnesses to a crime that allegedly
took place in broad daylight on a major thoroughfare of the village.
 
Girgis has been in jail without any serious attempt to bring him to trial –
another sign, interested parties said, that the evidence against him is weak.
 
Things are now quiet in Al-Nawahid, but it is an uneasy peace.
 
“Everyone is still afraid. Even the people in the village next door are
afraid,” Demetry said, “We can’t trust anyone.”

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

How Divine Wrestling Changes Our Identity

How Divine Wrestling Changes Our Identity

All of us at some point will hit a place of getting the wind knocked out of us. We all experience unexpected detours and times when there seems to be no way out. But there is One who lives in us, the Lord Jesus Christ, who gives us the strength to overcome obstacles....

Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Whether it is the Spirit leading or forbidding in the book of Acts, or the Spirit leading throughout Christian history, it’s clear that the leading of the Spirit is important. In the Old Testament, it appears that the Spirit of God could be withdrawn completely from...

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Everyone has a race to run. That just means we all have a life to live. The apostle Paul says in Hebrews 12:1 (NIV), “Therefore...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for...

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am the Consuming Fire’

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am the Consuming Fire’

God says that during this season, He is turning up the heat, finding the gold and bringing His refining fire. Job makes a powerful statement of faith as he says of the Lord, "When he has tried me, I shall come out as gold." God knew Job's heart and Job knew the heart...

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

In 1971, I was invited to spend one month in Singapore at a new institute that had been started by John Haggai. It was still in the formative stages then—a place where Asian church leaders would be trained and challenged to witness for Christ. Today, more than 40...

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

It was a Pentecost bloodbath and most Christians never heard about it. More than 50 Christians were killed in one of the deadliest terror attacks on Nigerians this year. Scores of gunmen rushed in to kill Christians in the midst of worship. All told, over 360 million...

RECENT ARTICLES

Prophecy: A Window of Time Has Opened for Believers to Preach the Truth

I was rejoicing and praising God on Friday, June 24, 2022, for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, knowing that an ungodly decree was overturned and one national curse was broken. I heard by the Holy...
The Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: The People I Saw in Hell

The Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: The People I Saw in Hell

In 1998, God gave me a life-changing vision of hell. I receive many questions about my experience from people all over the world, but one question I'm often asked is, "Who did you see in hell?" There are others who say they've had an experience like mine, and they...

The United States: Birthed in Prophetic Symbolism

The United States: Birthed in Prophetic Symbolism

One of the most amazing facts about the Founding Fathers of our nation is this: The one referred to as the "voice" of the revolution (John Adams) and the one referred to as the "pen" of the revolution (Thomas Jefferson) both died on the same day—July 4, 1826—exactly...

Why Did God Give ‘This’ to Me?

Why Did God Give ‘This’ to Me?

It’s a question I frequently hear. It’s one I’ve asked. And maybe it’s one you’ve asked, too. The question is, “God, why did You give this to me?” This can be any number of issues, from emotional or psychological struggles to symptoms or sicknesses, disabilities or...

No Evil Can Stop What God Has Planned

No Evil Can Stop What God Has Planned

I sense it. And I perceive a growing number of people in massive proportions sense the increasing momentum of power and might worldwide. Something is on the horizon—something more eerie and ominous than what the people of the world have ever before experienced. Even...

Pin It on Pinterest