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EU Human Rights Envoy Visits Egypt
By POMED

European Union Special Envoy for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis arrived yesterday in Egypt for a series of meetings with Egyptian government officials. Lambrinidis met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, during which meeting the minister emphasized Egypt’s interest in “maintaining human rights in political, economic and social aspects.”

 

Christians in the Middle East Focus of Vatican Gathering
By Aleteia

 “We cannot resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians," Pope tells cardinals.”

Egypt’s Resurgent Authoritarianism: It’s a Way of Life
By Nathan J. Brown, Katie Bentivoglio - Carnegie

“..the Sisi government is laying the foundation for officials to act with sweeping powers—and little accountability.”

Since assuming office in June 2014, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been making a series of slow but deliberate legal moves to restore and strengthen the authority of state institutions. In the absence of parliament, he has taken advantage of a constitutional vacuum to lay the groundwork for authorities to act with wide discretion and little public oversight.

 

Iran Appears to Fight ISIS, but Ultimate Goals Too Similar
By Lauren Gunias - WWM

Minorities caught in crossfire of ambitions driving extremist ideologies of both

It says something about the depths of worldwide revulsion to the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" that Western powers such as the US and the UK have been sitting at the same table with Iran to discuss how to defeat the deadly Islamist movement that has taken control of a large part of Iraq and Syria.

 


Two Christians Killed in Egypt by Muslim Racketeering Gang

A Christian man and his son were shot dead in Egypt when he refused to pay extortion money demanded by a Muslim racketeer, who has been kidnapping Christians for ransom.

The offender went to the home of Moawad Assad, a building contractor, in Nag Hammadi on 26 January to collect the money that he had demanded three days earlier. The Christian refused to go to his car for fear of being kidnapped. Four men armed with machine guns then got out of the vehicle and opened fire on Moawad and his 26-year-old son Assad Moawad, an engineer. They were both killed instantly.

The racketeer and his gang have been extorting money from Christians and kidnapping their children for ransom for some months; eleven Christians were seized between 11 August and 24 December 2011 in Nag Hammadi and neighbouring Farshoot and Bahgoura.

A senior Christian leader in Nag Hammadi said all the incidents had been reported to the police. He questioned why the ringleader, who is well known to the police, has not been arrested and called on the authorities to protect Christians in the Nag Hammadi area, “who are continuously being subjected to terror and kidnapping”.

Mob attack

Elsewhere in Egypt, a mob of Muslims attacked Christians and their property in the village of Kobry-el-Sharbat in Alexandria on 28 January. Two Christians and one Muslim were injured in the violence; homes and shops were looted before being set ablaze.

Muslims descended on the village after a rumour spread that a Christian man had taken photos of Muslim women. A Christian activist said that the allegation was made by a Muslim man when the Christian man refused to pay extortion money that the former had demanded from him.

The Christian’s home was looted and torched, and the homes of a further 11 Christian families attacked.

Eyewitnesses said that the perpetrators were Salafists and some were from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Reconciliation meetings were held in the village in which the aggressors demanded the forced displacement of Christian residents and refused to approve any compensation for the victims.

No arrests were made in connection with the attack.

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Barnabas Fund

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