After Egypt President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi apologised for not finishing the reconstruction work of Christian properties damaged in the aftermath of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi’s ouster in 2013, the engineering unit of the Armed Forces immediately started cooperating with Coptic authorities to wrap up the pending renovations, religious Coptic figures said.
On February 1, Priest Awad Flemon of Al-Iman Church in Alexandria, explained how officials closed his church five years ago, leaving it partially constructed.
MCN learned Monday that Mr. Knox Thames, the Special Adviser of the U.S. State Department for religious minorities in the Middle East, recently met the CHREDO delegation in Paris.
Several human rights organizations condemned the decision to prevent several individuals associated with effective mobility in the public domain, especially human rights advocates, led by human rights activist Gamal Eid, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information manager, which seems to be an action to make the Egyptian border a "big jail" for activists.
Several Coptic Christian leaders and priests recently discussed the closures of their churches. For example, Fr. Stephen Shehata, undersecretary of the diocese of Samalout, Minya, explained how three of the diocese’s churches were shut down because they did not have the required licenses.
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”.
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.
Coptic Solidarity 2015 Conference
The Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C. on June 11-13, 2015.