This weekend, the international community appeared to finally wake to the looming humanitarian crisis in Amerli, a town of 12,000 Shiite Turkmen in northern Iraq that has been under attack by the Islamic State for more than 60 days. On Saturday, Nickolay Mladenov, head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq, urged the international community in a tweet “to relieve the #Amerli siege and ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance.”
Amerli is the only major Shiite community still behind the Islamic State’s front lines. In nearby towns, Shiite Turkmen families captured by the Islamic State have been split up, men and boys taken to be killed and women and girls bused away to be used as human shields, sold as chattel and sometimes raped and murdered.
For all of its internal tribulations, there is no doubt that Egypt is a coherent entity, deeply anchored in history and in the consciousness of its population. For all of the problems confronting the Coptic Christian community, no one doubts that they are as Egyptian as the Muslim majority.
The horror stories emerging from northern Iraq, as well as the continuing slaughter in Syria’s civil war, point to a tectonic shift in the Middle East. Almost 100 years after World War I, the regional state system established after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire is unraveling.
Essam Demian, brother of Emad Domian, who was killed in Sahel Salim village in Assuit governorate (Upper Egypt) a year ago, said, “The cases of ransom and royalties imposed on Copts in the governorate have increased amid silence of the security forces. More than 250 Copts, some of them physicians or pharmacists, paid ransoms” (presumably over the past three years).
ISIS Atrocities Started With Saudi Support for Salafi Hate
Along with a billion Muslims across the globe, I turn to Mecca in Saudi Arabia every day to say my prayers. But when I visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the resting place of the Prophet Muhammad, I am forced to leave overwhelmed with anguish at the power of extremism running amok in Islam’s birthplace. Non-Muslims are forbidden to enter this part of the kingdom, so there is no international scrutiny of the ideas and practices that affect the 13 million Muslims who visit each year.
Members of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) kidnapped a Christian girl named Christian Khidr Ebada, 3, from her mother’s lap in the city of Qaraqosh, in Nineveh, north Iraq.
A witness said that ISIL members did not respond to appeals of the girl’s parents when they took her away. The witness explained that the girl is still in the city of Qaraqosh, while her parents have arrived in the city of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region in Iraq.
The witness told MCN that ISIL members ordered the remaining people in the city of Qaraqosh to leave after they robbed their money and jewelry.
People were divided into groups, which ISIL members then took near the Khazar area, close by Kurdish-controlled Kalik.
The Maspero Youth announced that it will organize a protest Thursday in front of the Journalists' Syndicate, to condemn what they called violations against the Coptic residents of Sharbat village in the district of Amreyya in Alexandria.
The sectarian clashes reportedly erupted on Friday Jan. 27 when Mahmoud Te'ma, a barber, claimed that 34-year-old tailor Morad Gerges snapped pictures of Muslim girls in the fitting room of his workshop.
However, according to Ramy Kamel, a Coptic activist, Te'ma tried to extort money from Gerges, but when he refused Te'ma spread the rumor. Te'ma was later arrested, he said.
"A number of Muslim residents attacked Gerges' home and when they didn't find him, they abused his family," he said, claiming that the attack was led by Salafi leaders in the village.
Daily News Egypt could not independently verify this claim.
Kamel claimed that the homes of 11 other Coptic families were also attacked, forcing them to flee to nearby villages where they have been in hiding since.
Protesters will be demanding the arrest of the perpetrators and compensation for their burnt homes and shops estimated at around LE 5 million.
They also want to express their refusal of collective punishment meted out to Coptic residents without distinction.
"We learned that some residents of the village are calling for a mass protest dubbed 'Friday for the displacement of Copts'," the Maspero Coptic said on its official Facebook page, pointing out that there have been attempts over the past few days to displace 54 Christian families from surrounding villages.
The added in its statement that threatening to displace unarmed citizens because of to their race or religion is not only a domestic crime but a humanitarian catastrophe that requires rapid intervention from the relevant authorities.
Kamel, who claims he had thoroughly investigated the events of Sharbat village, said that during the clashes security forces and army personnel watched as repetitive attacks on Copts and their property took place, but did nothing to stop them.
He says that three reconciliation meetings were held between Muslims and Copts in the village so far.
"In the first session the attackers openly demanded the forced displacement of Coptic residents; while in the second, they refused to approve any compensation for the victims, insisting on their eviction," Kamel said, adding that assaults on Copts continued immediately after the last session.
If the protests don't trigger real action, activists will take further steps to escalate the situation.
"We will no longer address the Egyptian government or society. We will reach a higher level by addressing the international community because human rights charters regard forcible eviction as an international crime where the state involved is considered guilty," he said.
The family of a Coptic student who allegedly published photos deemed blasphemous to Islam on his Facebook page was displaced from their home in Assiut, while a number of families were also forced to leave their homes following attacks on churches in Atfih and Imbaba, Kamel said.
By Heba Hesham www.thedailynewsegypt.com/AINA
Coptic Solidarity is a U.S. public charity organization under section 501 (C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions are deductible under Section 170 of the Code.
Coptic Solidarity 2014 Conference
The Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C. on June 26-28, 2014.