120 Christian Families Flee Egyptian Village Following Death of a Muslim
By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
(ANS) – The sectarian strife between Muslims and Christians which took place last week in the village of Dahshur has prompted more than 120 Christian families to flee their homes today after news that a Muslim man who had suffered 3rd degree burns in the incident died this morning in a Cairo hospital.
Before his death, the father and brother of Moaz Hassab-Allah told the media yesterday that should he die, “the whole village will avenge his death,” writes Egyptian journalist Mary Abdelmassih for the news agency.
Security forces at the scene of the incident in Dahshur
AINA states that Coptic villagers were terrorized today after a Muslim Brotherhood cleric roamed the village vowing that the village church of St. George will be burned down, its pastor and all the entire Christian inhabitants killed, and their homes torched after the burial tonight of Moaz, as reported by Coptic activist Maariam Ragy.
In its report, AINA said Coptic professional garments presser Sameh Samy accidentally burned the shirt of his Muslim client Ahmad Ramadan.
“They agreed to meet after the Muslim breaks his fast and settle the damage,” said father Takla of St. George’s church to MidEast Christian News, “However, Ramadan came back before the appointment.” He added that after breaking their Ramadan fast nearly 2,000-3,000 Muslims congregated while Mr. Samy locked his launderette and his home.
AINA reports that fighting broke out between the Muslims and Sameh’s family, during which Molotov’s cocktails, firearms and knives were used. The priest explained that Sameh faced this huge mob in “self-defense,” threw a Molotov’s cocktail which hit the passer-by Moaz.
“This made the villagers extremely angry and they torched his home and his launderette and his brother’s home after they looted the contents, a loss of nearly 400,000 Egyptian pounds. They prevented the fire brigade from reaching the fire,” said Takla.
According to the AINA report, the mob wounded Sameh, his father, his cousin and another Coptic believer. Father Takla said that over 500 moderate village Mulims stopped the Salafist mob from storming the church, until security forces arrived and secured it.
The prosecution ordered the arrest of five Muslims, while Sameh Samy, his father and brother were detained pending investigation on charges of attempted murder and possession of explosives, AINA said.
Today, the prosecution renewed their detention for 15 days and changed the charged to contemplated murder. No Muslim has yet been arrested.
Dr. Dr Maher Ghaly
AINA also reports that in another incident on July 26 in Shubra el Khayma, Qaliubya province, Dr Maher Ghaly looked out from his window at dawn and asked a group of Muslim Salafis who have a shop in the same building not to fire their weapons in the air in celebration of another day of the Ramadan fast.
AINA says Ghaly explained to them that in his household there are sick persons and children who are greatly disturbed.
“Their answer was to shoot at him. One of his eyes was blown away and there is no hope of replacing the cornea in his other eye,” said his brother Fayez. He said that the Muslims wanted to break down the main building door and go to his flat, but were unable to.
“Although the police issued a report, they have done nothing to arrest the culprits,” Fayez said
Dr. Ghaly is hospitalized in the French hospital in Cairo.
AINA goes on to say that two days ago, a Muslim attacked a church in the area of Sheikh Zayed, Qaliubya. The prosecution did not make any charges against him as he is “mentally unstable,” and was subsequently released.
“Simce Morsy became President of Egypt, there is systematic persecution of the Copts,” said Dr. Naguib Gabriel, head of the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organization.
Gabriel said that in the last ten days of the Muslim Ramadam fast, twelve incidents took place against the Copts, including the arrest of the six Copts in Dahshur, while no Muslim was arrested.
“Displacement of Copts has become fashionable,” said Gabriel.
He added: “Now any small melee between a Muslim and a Copt is used by Islamists, turning it into a sectarian incident, pushing for Coptic arrests, torching of their homes or enforced displacement, while not a single action is taken against the Muslim culprits.”