By Coptic Solidarity –
Updated on September 18, 2017
Due to increasing attacks on Copts in Egypt, Coptic Solidarity has compiled this list which represents various types of persecution against Copts. Currently it dates back to the beginning of February 2016, but will be gradually extended chronically to include older incidents. ESHHAD Project is acknowledged as a main source of data for this Chronology.
August 20, 2017 – Copts Prevented from Worship
The Copts in the village of al-Furn in Abu-Qurqas, Minya were banned by the police from accessing their church to hold Sunday Mass. The priest, Fr Boutros Aziz, who comes every Sunday to officiate Mass was also kept off the Church premises by security forces who cordoned off the area. When the Copts stood in the street chanting ‘Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy)’ the police dispersed them by force.
August 15, 2017 – Minya Diocese Statement on Closure of Churches
The Minya Coptic Diocese released a statement stating that their church had been closed for over a month in Kedwan and that all efforts to work with authorities locally and in Cairo had failed to get the church reopened. The statement also claimed that there are more than fifteen places of worship in Minya that have been closed on the order of the Security apparatus, despite the submission of formal requests to have them opened. Also, there are seventy villages, farmsteads and hamlets without places for prayers in Minya as well.
https://www.copticsolidarity.org/2017/08/13/%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B0%D9%83%D8%B1%D9%89-%D9%81%D8%B6-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%B9%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D9%85%D9%86-%D9%8A%D8%BA%D9%84%D9%82-%D9%83%D9%86/ – Arabic
https://www.copticsolidarity.org/2017/08/15/a-statement-issued-by-the-coptic-orthodox-diocese-of-minya-egypt/ – English translation
July 19, 2017 – Coptic Conscript Found Dead
Joseph Reda Helmy of Kafr Darwish village, Beni Suef Governorate, a 22-year-old Copt, reported for duty at Al-Salaam Special Forces unit (on the Cairo-Ismailia desert road) at 2pm on 19 July. Six hours later, he was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Army officials claimed he died following an epileptic fit, during which he hit himself repeatedly, but his family says he had no history of seizures and that his whole body was covered in bruises. A hospital report said the injuries he sustained pointed to a “criminal” assault.
Four soldiers have been arrested on suspicion of beating Helmy to death, though his family have stressed they want the men to be convicted of murder, not manslaughter, because they believe it was the soldiers’ intention to kill him. On 24 July, the soldiers, speaking in court, testified that they were acting under the instruction of their supervising officer, Captain Mohammad Turk, but he has not been charged due to a “lack of evidence.”
July 18, 2017 – Coptic Man Dies in Police Custody
43-year old Copt Gamal Aweida died in police custody after being arrested and held in Mansheyet Nasir police station in Cairo for questioning in relation to a forgery offence. Approximately 15 hours later after arrest, Egyptian police called Awedia’s family and alleged that he hung himself. Police said that Aweida killed himself in custody, but evidence gathered by Amnesty Intl. and eyewitness testimony suggested otherwise. According to two witnesses held in custody with Aweida, the victim reportedly got into a verbal altercation with a police officer because the officer insulted his religion, and then Aweida was taken to a different part of the police station. The next morning, one of the witnesses was being escorted to the bathroom and saw Aweida lying on the floor motionless, and the witness thought Aweida may have been dead.
July 15, 2017 – Church Guard attacked
A man attacked a security guard with a razor blade at the Two Saints Church in Alexandria after he was asked to see his national ID. The suspect has been detained, and might be facing terrorism charges.
https://www.copticsolidarity.org/2017/07/15/%D8%B7%D8%B9%D9%86-%D8%AD%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%B3-%D9%83%D9%86%D9%8A%D8%B3%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D8%AF%D9%8A%D8%B3%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D8%B3%D9%83%D9%86%D8%AF%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A9/ – Arabic
https://www.copticsolidarity.org/2017/07/16/muslim-knifeman-attacks-egypt-church-guard/ – English
July 7, 2017 – Churches Cancel Summer Activities
Update: Churches in Egypt have cancelled their summer activities, mainly trips to monasteries or holy sites, spiritual retreats or conventions, and in many cases trips to beaches, in response to a warning by the Interior Ministry of anticipated terrorist attacks against Copts. The Ministry sent letters to the various Churches in Egypt explaining that investigations revealed that [Islamist] terrorist movements are planning to carry out violent attacks nationwide against the military, police, and Copts and churches. The ministry asked the Churches to take all precautionary measures during the coming three weeks and until further notice. All trips to monasteries, spiritual conventions, or any activity that involves any type of gathering, the Ministry said, should be cancelled.
July 6, 2017 – Coptic Woman killed at Home
Nadra Mounir, 26, was found dead in her flat in Cairo and religious icons in her home had reportedly been desecrated.
Mrs. Mounir, an active member of her church and a member of the choir, returned to her second-floor flat in Zarayeb Ezbet Al-Nakhl, after attending a revival service. Her body was found by a Christian neighbor, Heba Nagy, who told World Watch Monitor: “We – some neighbors and I – heard strange sounds coming out from Nadra’s flat. We headed to her apartment to see the matter, we found Nadra lying on the floor, drenched in blood.
“There was a large wound to the front of the neck, her hair had been cut off and all the Christian icons which were hanging on the walls of her flat were torn apart,” she said.
They called the police, who searched the flat and took fingerprints. “There was money and Nadra’s jewelry in the bedroom wardrobe. Police have not issued a statement or made any arrests in conjunction with the murder.
July 2, 2017 – Coptic Doctor Killed at His Clinic
A Christian urologist, Albert Fekry, was found dead in his clinic with a single gash to his neck. Dr. Fekry, 67, was found by a patient who returned to the clinic in Tala, in the northern Monufia Governorate, to show him his X-ray results. His priest, Fr Youstos Joseph, said nothing had been taken from the clinic, and suggested the killer had known the doctor worked alone. He added that it was “strange” that the killer had managed to pass the security guards at the church just behind the clinic shortly before he carried out the attack.
July 2, 2017 – Coptic Jeweler Shot Dead
Coptic jeweler Girgis Bushra, 55, was found dead in his home in Heliopolis outside Cairo. He had been shot, according to local police, who have so far made no arrests.
June 24, 2017 – Coptic Artist Beheaded
Michael Nabil Bebawy, a 32-year-old artist, did not return home after attending Mass. His body had been dumped on railway tracks near the station and his head was found beside his body. A train driver reported seeing three people dumping a body on a section of the tracks. But the police alleged it was a train accident that severed Michael’s head from his body. But pools of blood were found some distance away from the tracks, not on the tracks themselves.”
When relatives visited the morgue of Minya Public Hospital, Mr. Bebawy’s body bore no signs of injury. “There were just two marks on his head, indicating he had been beaten before he was beheaded. Reportedly the medical examiner who carried out the post-mortem at the morgue did not visit the place where the body was found. The medical examiner’s report has not yet been issued.
June 28, 2017 – Coptic Girl Kidnapped
On June 27, 2017, 15-year-old Neveen Adly Beshai Sawiris was pushed into a car with force by two men as she walked along a street in Cairo. Her 38-year-old kidnapper later confessed he had forged her papers to show her as an over-18 and married her. He was charged with kidnapping a minor, forgery, and inciting sectarian strife.
June 28, 2017 – Coptic Girl Went Missing
A 16-year old Coptic girl went missing. Her parents accuse Taha Mohamed Saled Zeidan and Jaber Mohamed Saleh Zeidan for taking her to Ezbet Abu Khalifah and then disappearing when they heard that the police were coming. On July 8, 2017, a video emerged of Marlayn declaring that she has willingly converted to Islam and that she was not kidnapped nor bribed, but rather that the people she is staying with are helping her find Islam.
June 27, 2017 – Coptic Man attacked by Militants
A Christian travelling-salesman was accosted by militants who pulled his car over. The militants allegedly demanded he renounce his Christian faith. When he refused, the militants drew a knife and cut the man’s arm to the bone before fleeing. His family and nearby witnesses delivered him to the Nasser Institute Hospital where he underwent major operations.
June 14, 2017 – Monastery Burnt
A fire engulfed the nun’s Monastery of St. Demiana in Belqas, a town in Daqahliya, in the Nile Delta. Security forces allegedly reported to the scene after one and a half hours, causing the monastery to burn down entirely. Three Christians and two Muslims were injured, all in critical condition after villagers attempted to put it out themselves. Artifacts and icons from the early Coptic era were lost in the fire. Security forces claim to have confirmed the source of the fire to be a lit lamp in the Monastery; nuns in the convent dispute this finding, stating that all lamps are put out daily and are not found in the area in which the fire began.
June 14, 2017 – Social Hostility towards Churches
NPR reported that the mother of an imprisoned boy accused of setting fire to Christian homes in the Upper Egyptian village of Kom al-Lofi openly maintained that Christian churches are “haram” (religiously unclean) during an interview. In regards to the Muslim community’s repudiation of local Christian concern with the lack of available houses of worship, the woman also contended that Christians, as the minority, should simply worship elsewhere.
June 12, 2017 – Coptic Girl Assaulted for Her Attire
A Christian girl was allegedly assaulted by a Muslim male and his mother due to the girl’s clothing. He reportedly told her “God, I am fasting,” to which she responded, “What issue is it of yours?” She is said to be under observation in al-Salam International Hospital in Cairo with a lacerated spleen and numerous bruises.
June 5, 2017 – Coptic Girl Goes Missing
Suzan Ashraf Rawy,22, left for work by foot from her home in Al Khosous, a Cairo suburb, but never arrived at the Coptic Orthodox church where she is employed. The Virgin and Pope Kyrillos Church is walking distance from her home. When she did not return home that evening, her mother called the church and discovered Suzan did not arrive at the church in the morning. The family believes she has been abducted.
May 26, 2017 – Attack on Bus En-route to Monastery, 28 Killed
Gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Christian worshippers, primarily Sunday School children, to the Monastery of Anba Samuel the Confessor in Maghagha, Minya. At least 28 have been reported killed so far and 25 wounded according to the Ministry of Interior, a majority of them children. The gunmen arrived in three four-wheel drive vehicles and opened fire using automatic weapons on two buses and a truck.
May 24, 2017 – Coptic Man Killed
A Coptic building contractor was found dead in his work accommodation. Two co-workers said they found Magdy Zekry Abdel Malak, 40, with a single gash to his neck. Police have yet made no arrests. The dead man’s cousin said he believed Malak was killed “because he was a Christian”, adding that his wallet was found on his person, so he had not been killed for money.
May 20, 2017 – Renowned Coptic Priest Accused of Insulting Islam
Attorney Samir Sabry filed a blasphemy case against Reverend Makary Younan of St. Mark’s church in Azbakeya, Cairo. The case was filed due to statements that Reverend Makary made regarding Christians. Allegedly, Reverend Makary said that Christians are the original Egyptians and that Islam spread by the sword. UPDATE on June 26, 2017: According to Samir Sabry’s official representative, the case against Reverend Makary was dropped and no longer pending before investigation or court.
May 17, 2017 – Coptic Girl Disappears
A Christian girl, university student Nermin Mamdouh, (sister of Emad Mamdouh who was killed in an exchange of fire with terrorists in Sinai one year ago), disappeared under “mysterious circumstances” while walking to the Diocese of the Virgin Mary in Beni Suef. After reporting to the police, the case remains under investigation.
May 6, 2017 – Coptic Barber Shot Dead in North Sinai
A Coptic barber, Nabil Saber was shot dead in his shop in Arish. Saber had fled the city to Ismailia with hundreds of other Copts last February due to the targeting of Copts by the Islamic State. He reportedly went back to Arish to finish some school paperwork for his son and was killed while he was at his barber shop.
May 5, 2017 – Islamic State Threatens Copts
The Islamic State in Egypt warned the country’s Muslims to avoid being around Christian gatherings as well as buildings that belong to the church, the government, the police, or military.
April 21, 2017 – Coptic Man Attacked for Being ‘Infidel’
A Coptic man named Michael Eid reported that he was attacked by his neighbor who attempted to murder him with a knife for being an “infidel.”
April 19, 2017 – Sinai Monastery Checkpoint Attacked
A checkpoint near St. Catherine’s Monastery in South Sinai was attacked by an alleged member of the Islamic State. Given the checkpoint’s location, the monastery’s historical and religious significance, as well as ISIS claiming the attack shortly after the Palm Sunday bombings.
April 14, 2017 – Coptic Youth Attacked
Gamal Allam Beshay, a high school student, was returning to his village, al-Nawira, after completing private lessons in Quai Village in Beni Suef. He was found with significant wounds on his neck (described as a slaughtering by local media) as well as fractured skull. Police arrested 15 suspects but the perpetrator remains unidentified.
April 13, 2017 – Copts Attacked for Attempting to Pray
Sectarian “clashes” broke out in the village of Kom al-Lofi in Samalout, Minya. The village’s Christians were reported to have been permitted to pray in a house in the village; due to the house’s size, many worshippers stood outside of the house. Several Muslim neighbors were allegedly aggravated by this and attacked by threw rocks at them. Reports say that the clashes left four Christians wounded and four houses burnt. UPDATE: As reported in an NPR piece on June 14, 2017, at least two men are being detained under suspicion of having burned four of the seven homes, with the seven homes being an increase from the four that were previously reported.
April 12, 2017 – Bomb Found in a Cairo Church
A bomb was found and dismantled in Virgin Mary Church in Shubra in Cairo. The bomb was found in a black bag in the church.
April 9, 2017 – Bomb Blast in Tanta Church, 29 Killed
A bomb detonated at the St. George’s Cathedral in Tanta, Gharbiya. The blast killed 29 and wounded 71 others. News footage from Tanta shows people gathering at the church, singing hymns. The video then quickly switches to bars as harrowing screams and cries echo in the background.“Everything is destroyed inside the church” and blood can be seen on marble pillars, said Peter Kamel, who saw the aftermath of the carnage. It appeared the explosive device was placed near the altar, he said. Priests and the church choir were among the casualties.
Bomb disposal technicians notably dismantled an explosive device (IED) at the same church on March 29, and a few days ago a second device was found and rendered inert. The blast was claimed by Islamic State.
April 9, 2017 – Bomb Blast Outside Alexandria Cathedral, 18 Killed
A bomb was detonated in front of St. Mark’s Cathedral on Palm Sunday by a suicide bomber, just a few hours after the bombing in Tanta. The second, hit the historic seat of the Coptic Pope, killing 18, including three police officers, and injuring 35. The blast was claimed by Islamic State.
The head of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, was at the service in Alexandria and had finished addressing the congregation before the blast, according to reports. He was unhurt.
March 29, 2017 – Bomb in Tanta Church Disarmed
A bomb disposal technicians dismantled an explosive device (IED) at St. George’s Cathedral in Tanta and in early April a second device was found and rendered inert.
March 29, 2017 – Coptic Woman Attacked
A Christian woman claimed that she had been attacked by her neighbor who attempted to slaughter her after he broke into her house. She added that she now fears for her young daughters.
March 26, 2017 – 25 Copts Arrested While Peacefully Protesting Girl’s Disappearance
The police in the southern town of Qena arrested 25 Copts who were among Coptic protestors demonstrating against police laxity in searching for the teenager Marina Nash’at who disappeared three weeks previously. The Copts were caught for “demonstrating without informing the local security authorities” as required by law. Nash’at left home 20 days prior for a private lesson and never returned.
March 24, 2017 – Mob Attack Copts’ Houses Following ‘Conversion’ of a Coptic Girl
A mob of villagers in Luxor surrounded and attacked Coptic houses. They claim that a minor Christian girl, named Amira Girgis, had converted to Islam and married a Muslim and her family is hiding her. The girl’s family was reported to have left the village ten days earlier due to threats they received from a Muslim man who wanted to marry their daughter. Security forces were reported to have asked the Coptic families to bring the girl back to the village to sit with the village’s imams and leaders.
March 5, 2017 – Police Prevents Copts from Worshiping
Police prevented Christians from worshiping at the St. Mina church in Nazlet al-Nakhl in Abu Qurqas in Minya stating that it was unlicensed, citing to security concerns. Bishop Makarious encouraged families to worship in private homes to avoid a confrontation given the circumstances.
February 23, 2017 -Four Coptic Factories Burned Down
Four Coptic owned factories were burnt down in Alexandria. Security cameras caught two people breaking into one of the factories right before it was burnt last week.
February 23, 2017 – Coptic Plumber Murdered
A group of masked men attacked the house of a 50-year-old Christian plumber, Kamel Abu Romani, in Arish, northern Sinai. They shot Kamel dead and set his house on fire.
February 21, 2017 – Coptic Father and Son Murdered
Coptic Christian Medhat Said Hakim, age 45, was found burned alive, days after he had been kidnapped by unknown militants. His father, Said Hakim, was found with him, shot in the head. He was 65 years old and had also been kidnapped by unknown militants. The armed gunmen confirmed the two men’s names with Nabila Fawzi Hanna, 65, ( Said Hakim’s wife) and ticked them off a hit list they were carrying
February 22, 2017 – Coptic Man Shot
On February 22, masked gunmen came to Kamel Raouf Kamel Youssef’s house. They broke in and shot the 40-year-old in front of his wife and children as he tried to escape onto the roof. Youssef was neighbor to the Hakims (father and son murdered the previous night).
February 19, 2017 – Islamic State Video, Threatening all Christians in Egypt
The Islamic State in Egypt released a video vowing to wipe out all Christians in Egypt. The video showed a conglomeration of news clips, purportedly showing Christian leaders criticizing Islam and Judge Emil Habashi Malika Abdel Messieh, a Christian, sentencing 14 alleged jihadists to death for forming terrorist group Tawhid wal-Jihad, attacking police and military forces and killing two police officers, a military officer, three soldiers and a civilian in Sinai in 2012. The video further alleges that Christians are in control of the economy, judiciary, and the media, and threatens to invade Cairo to liberate the city and release Islamist prisoners.
February 17, 2017 – Coptic Doctor Murdered by Gunmen
40-year-old medical doctor was killed by masked men who, after forcing him to stop his car, opened fire on and killed him. He too leaves a widow and two children.
February 16, 2017 – Coptic Teacher and Store Owner Shot
Gunmen shot a Christian teacher, Gamal Tawfiq Girgis, (and shoe store owner) at the Thursday market in Arish.
February 13, 2017 – Coptic Man Murdered While Son Kidnapped
A 57-year-old Christian laborer Adel Shawqy was shot and killed as he tried to fight off masked men trying to kidnap his young son from off a crowded street in broad daylight. After murdering the father, they seized his young son and took him to an unknown location.
February 12, 2017 – Coptic Veterinarian Murdered in Market
A Christian veterinarian, Bahgat William Zakher, was shot in Arish by masked gunmen in a crowded market in broad daylight. The victim was forced to stop his car by a group of masked gunmen who shot him afterwards.
February 10, 2017 – Coptic Young Woman Disappeared with Her Son
A 23-year-old Christian housewife called Marcel disappeared with her two-year-old son, Kirollos, in Minya. Reports say that they left the house to attend the prayers at the local church in the morning but they were not seen afterwards.
February 6, 2017 – Samalout Officials Refuse Electrical Connection for Coptic Homes
Copts in the village of Kom al-Lofi in Minya announced that they would protest against the city’s refusal to connect their restored houses to electricity. Several houses, owned by Christians, were burnt during a sectarian strife in June 2016. After restoring the houses, the city of Samalout refused requests to reconnect them to electricity.
February 4, 2017 – Coptic Teenager Falsely Accused of Rape
A Christian teenager, Fady Said Khalil, was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for allegedly raping an 8-year-old Muslim boy. The convict`s father said that forensic report proved his son innocent but the other family obtained false witnesses. The family had to leave the village but there are contradicting reports on the reasons behind it. The family has accused their neighbors, the police and the town`s MP, Mahmoud Badr, of forcing them to leave their house. Other reports suggest that they had to leave after their lease had expired.
February 4, 2017 – Copts Refused Permit to Build Church on Own Property Since 1971
Girgis Zakariya Zaky, appointed legal representative of the Church by Anba Asheiya, Bishop of Tahta, publicized that the Holy Virgin in the hamlet of Naja Rizq Shenouda, Tahta, Sohag, was unable to procure a permit to build a church. The Copts of Naja Rizq Shenouda have suffered since 1971 because the refusal of the local authorities to grant them a permit to build a church on a 618sq.m-plot of land owned by the Church and officially registered as Church property. There is no church in the hamlet which is home to some 3500 Copts; the Copts worship in a rundown building that has no ceiling and thus no privacy and is moreover unshielded against weather conditions. Since 1971, the Church has repeatedly applied for license to build a new church but was never granted one; no reason was ever given by the authorities.
After the Law 80 for 2016 was passed, which governs the building and restoration of churches, the Church applied on December 29, 2016, to Sohag Governor for license to build a new church on its land. All the documents required were attached to the application which was handed to the governor’s office and given serial number. On 22 January 2017, Sohag Governor Ayman Abdel-Moniem referred the application to Sohag Security. The Sohag Governor referred the matter to the security authority, which constituted an infringement against the law
February 2, 2017 – Coptic Jewelry Store Owner Murdered
Three men attacked a jewelry store, killing its Christian owner, Ashraf and stealing 5 KG of gold in al-Alamein. One of the attackers was allegedly arrested while he was trying to escape from the city. UPDATE on February 6, 2017: The other two attackers were arrested within the following 48 hours and the three confessed that they had committed the crime. Prosecution detained them for four days.
February1, 2017 – Coptic Homes Robbed in Sohag
Several houses, all owned by Christians, have been robbed in a village in Sohag. Security cameras at one of those houses showed a man named Hani Saber breaking into the house. The police have allegedly not taken any action yet despite the victims’ reports.
January 31, 2017 – Police Stop Church Renovation
The police forces stopped the restoration of the Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church in Amoudein village, Minya for being unlicensed.
January 30, 2017 – Coptic Man Murdered in His Store
A Christian supermarket owner, Wa’el Youssef, was attacked and shot dead in his own store by three masked gunmen in Arish, Sinai. His killers reportedly fled to the olive orchards south of the city.
January 28, 2017 – Coptic Girl Disappears
An 18-year-old Coptic girl, Hanan Adly Girges disappeared in Esna. A mob gathered to protest in front of the village`s police station but the security forces managed to break it up. Reports say that the girl`s phone, national ID, and her birth certificate were not found either.
UPDATE on February 22, 2017: Hanan’s family accuse police of complicity with the disappearance of Hanan. Hanan’s brothers filed a police report accusing a 27-year-old neighbor, Mohamed Ahmed Nubi Soliman, of kidnapping Hanan. Prosecution questioned Mohamed who admitted he had a connection but he was released due to lack of physical evidence.
January 24, 2017 – Copts Attacked by Muslims Attempting to Steal Their Land
Copts in the village of Naj Jneidi in Nusairat, Sohag, have been repeatedly attacked by Muslims who wish to seize their land. The most recent attack took place a few days ago; the attackers used automatic weapons, and Moussa al-Deeb Saeed and Zaghloul Awad were injured and moved to hospital. The Copts in the village caught Ibrahim Ahmad Ali Hassan and Muhammad Abdel-Latif Eissa from among the attackers, and handed them to the police. The attack is the third in the recent weeks, and comes with the purpose of seizing 12 feddans of land legally owned by the Copts since 1960. Two feddans of this land hold a cemetery for Copts. The Copts claim that the Muslim outlaws who wish to seize their lands have ‘sold’ this land to one another using fake ownership papers. The Copts, Salah Sidqy, Mahrous Gad al-Rubb Girgis, Boutros Shenouda, and their partners, have taken the matter to court.
January 17, 2017 – Coptic Man Stabbed to Death in Own Apartment
A Christian man was found killed in his own apartment in Masr al-Qadima. The body was stabbed several times on different spots. Motivations for the crime are still unknown.
UPDATE on January 19, 2017: A couple was detained for suspicion of killing the 37-year-old man.
January 14, 2017 – Update on Suad Thabet: Case Dismissed by Prosecutor
Minya prosecution dismissed the case of the stripping and beating of the 70-year-old woman Suad Thabet from the village of al-Karm in Minya. Ms. Thabet had been stripped naked and beaten by an Salafi mob in May 2016, in the wake of a rumor that her son was having an affair with a Muslim woman. The woman’s husband, Nazeer Ishaq, led the attack against Ms. Thabet and her husband after their son fled the village. The prosecution said that the case was dismissed because of insufficient evidence, because several witnesses had gone back on their testimonies. There was hence no base for a court case. According to Ihab Ramzy, the lawyer who represents Ms. Thabet, the witnesses changed their testimonies under pressure and threats from the Salafis in the village, among whom is Ishaq.
January 13, 2017 – Coptic Surgeon Murdered in His Apartment
A Christian surgeon named Bassam Safwat Zaki was found killed in his apartment in the upper Egyptian city of Assiut. Initial findings suggest that he was stabbed in the neck, back and chest. The victim`s cell phone was found in the apartment, according to his brother who was the first one to find out about the crime. Some reports indicate that a knife was next to his body when he was found.
January 6, 2017 – Christian Couple Found Murdered in Bedroom
A 60-year-old Christian man, called Gamal Sami, and his 48-year-old wife, Nadia, were found slaughtered in their bedroom in Menoufia. Neighbors say that Sami`s cell phone store had been robbed earlier but he refused to report to the police for fear of the criminals` reaction. Family members do not believe the motivation was robbery as Nadia’s jewelry was untouched; police allege it was a theft crime. Some reports indicate that the couple`s cell phones and money were not found after the crime.
January 3, 2017 – Christian Liquor Store Owner Murdered
Youssef Lamaei, a Christian liquor store owner was killed by a bearded man, Adel Soliman. The incident took place in front of Lamaei’s store in Alexandria and was caught by the store`s security cameras. The murderer was reported to have been shouting “Allahu Akbar” while committing his crime. Adel Soliman, the main suspect, confessed that he warned Lamaei to stop selling alcohol, procured the knife to kill him, and watched the store for two hours before killing Lamaei.
December 11, 2016 – Bomb Blast at St. Peter and St. Paul Church, 25 dead
A bomb attack on St. Peter & St. Paul Coptic Orthodox Church, a church near St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, the seat of the Pope, killed at least 25 and injured 49 (Egyptian state media reports 35 injured). President Sisi called for three days of mourning and opened an investigation into the attack.
UPDATE on December 12, 2016: Authorities identify suicide bomber as Mahmoud Shafik Mohamed Mostafa. No independent claims for the attack have been made yet. UPDATE on January 7, 2017: Official number of dead rises to 28.
UPDATE on February 2, 2017: Prosecutor General of Egypt opens investigations with Yasser Borhami, a salafi activist and one of the founders of the Salafist Call, for inciting the bombing of St. Paul Church by his extremist fatwas. (He was later released without charges)
December 5, 2016 – Coptic Journalist Accused of Insulting Sheikh
Several attorneys accused Egyptian Christian journalist and TV presenter Mofeed Fawzy for insulting the late popular Islamic figure Sheikh Shaarawi. Fawzy is to be interrogated by state security prosecution for criticizing Shaarawi on air, saying he is one of the early promoters of extremism in Egypt.
November 25, 2016 – Coptic Homes Burned and Damaged in Mob Attack
A mob attacked and burned a number of Christian homes in Naghamish Village in Sohag over a rumor that a community guesthouse was turned into a church. Fifteen homes were damaged in the attack and several injured. Fourteen of those who had been arrested were referred to prosecution over charges of inciting riots and forming a mob. Senior officials from the province came to participate in reconciliation dialogues in addition to members of parliament, community elders (representatives of well-known local families), and Coptic and Muslim clerics.
November 17, 2016 – Coptic Man Stripped of Clothes and Dragged Through Streets
Talaat Beshay Gad al-Rab was stripped of his clothes and dragged through the streets in Delga, Minya, due to an alleged relationship between his son, Shenouda, and a Muslim girl. Police forces arrested some of the family members who attack Talaat as well as Talaat’s son.
On November 19, Father Youssef Ayoub, priest of the Catholic Church in Delga, announced that Talaat had accepted and signed a reconciliation agreement with the girl’s family members agreeing not to pursue legal action against them.
November 13, 2016 – Coptic Teenagers Attacked by Muslim Students
A fight took place in the village of Saft al-Laban, Minya on November 14, 2016. Five Coptic teenagers were injured, among them two (Labib Samy, 17-year-old and Romany Attef, 17-year-old) who were seriously injured with deep wounds to their heads. The fight began on Sunday between Muslim and Christian students at their local high school. On Monday, Samy and Attef were attacked again on their way home from private lessons. Police sent security to the village to prevent further escalation.
November 13, 2016 – Coptic Man Tortured to Death in Police Custody
Magdy Makeen, 54, died of torture in the police station of al-Ameeriya in Cairo last December. Makeen, who earned his living selling fish on his horse cart, died as a result of the torture inflicted on him by the police officer Karim Magdy who was arrested along with nine other policemen. Magdy was accused of torturing Makeen to death and CCTV footage confirmed the acts of torture. Interior Minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar had directly suspended Captain Karim. The prosecution ordered his arrest, together with nine policemen, once the after-death official report was out on Wednesday 7 December. Makeen’s leaves behind a widow and three children—two men and a woman aged 28, 25, and 20.
UPDATE: The lawyers who represent the family of the Copt Magdy Makeen, 54, who died of torture in the police station of al-Ameeriya in Cairo last December, have filed a complaint with the prosecution that the defense witnesses are being pressured to change their testimonies. Makeen’s defense team denounced attempts made by friends of the defendants to pressure the witnesses into changing their testimonies. The statement reported that the witnesses were being subject to intimidation, threats, and even offered money to change their testimonies.
October 4, 2016 – Church Guard Killed
A sentry was shot in the head guarding the Good Shepherd Church in Suez. The Suez Security Directorate has claimed that relatives killed the victim in a familial dispute.
October 3, 2016 – Kidnapping of Copts
Four Christians, including a nine-year-old boy, were allegedly kidnapped on October 3, 2016 by unknown aggressors in Manfalout, Asiut; a 500,000 EGP ransom was requested. The perpetrators threatened to kill the victims if the police were involved. Despite the threat, one family member went to the Directorate of Security in Assiut and met with Assistant Director of Security who advised him to pay the ransom due to lack of guarantee that the perpetrators could be identified. A second call by the perpetrators led to an alleged negotiation of the ransom money down to 200,000 EGP.
UPDATE on October 4, 2016: The four were released after their families paid the perpetrators 150,000 EGP.
July 4, 2016 – Coptic Pharmacist Stabbed and Beheaded
Coptic pharmacist, Magdy Attia, 33, was found dead in an apartment building. Attia went to the apartment building to deliver medicine and stood outside talking to a couple of men for about 30 minutes before going inside. Soon Attia began screaming repeatedly for help, but no one came, according to local reports. The attackers had stabbed Attia some nine times and decapitated him, leaving his remains in the room of the apartment where he was slain.
July 2, 2016 Coptic Girl Stabbed
A 13-year-old Coptic girl and daughter of priest Angelos Mourad, was reportedly stabbed by a Muslim. Losia Mourad was shopping at a market near her church in Souhag when she crossed the road and, according to those familiar with the attack, Mohamed Taha grabbed her by her hair and bent her head back to expose her neck. Taha reportedly tried to slit her throat, but a by passer stopped the attack and Losia only suffered a superficial wound to her shoulder. She was taken immediately taken a hospital, where she was treated and released the same day. Relatives of the assailant have claimed Taha is mentally ill. No charges have been filed against him, and of this reporting he remained under medical observation in a psychiatric facility.
June 20, 2016 – Coptic Priest Gunned Down
The Rev. Raphael Moussa was returning from administering a church service when he was gunned down by terrorists aligned with Daesh, also known as the Islamic State (IS). Moussa, 46, went to an automotive repair shop in El-Arish for maintenance to his car and was standing outside waiting when a gunman on a passing motorcycle sprayed him with automatic gunfire. The bullets hit him in the head and chest and instantly killed him. According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), the Daesh affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula posted statements on its social media accounts claiming responsibility for the shooting.
May 19, 2016 – Coptic Activist Beaten and Imprisoned
At around 3 am plainclothes policemen entered Mina’s home without a warrant, beat him, blindfolded him, and took him to the al-Salam police station #1. Mina was forced to stand blindfolded against a wall for at least two hours and was beaten again. At around 10 am, the police transferred Mina from the al-Salam police station #1 to the Abbaseya prosecution in East Cairo where he was able to contact a lawyer for the first time. On May 21, 2016, Mina’s detention was renewed for 15 days and then again on June 5, 2016 for another 15 days. Mina’s lawyers filed for an appeal on June 8, 2016, but the request was denied. He is facing 10 charges, among them are inciting protests, belonging to a terrorist group, attempting to overthrow the President, and spreading false information. The prosecution claims that Mina’s case is related to his criticisms of the government’s transfer of the Tiran and Sanafir Islands, although there is very little supporting this contention.
UPDATE: June 18, 2016: Mina was released on bail of 10,000 EGP. Prosecution appealed and the hearing is scheduled for June 20.
February 2016 – 150 Coptic Families Flee Arish Due to Threats and Murders
Copts in the North Sinai town of al-Arish have been fleeing town since 22 February 2017 in the wake of threats and a wave of killings waged against them by Islamist jihadis in North Sinai and inside their town. To date, close to 150 Coptic families have exited Arish, many of them women and children. Since they left in haste without their belongings, relief and donations from Copts all over Egypt poured in. On Sunday 26 February relief workers said there were ample blankets and foods, but there was need for home utilities and medication.
February 12, 2015 – Twenty Copts and one Ghanaian Beheaded by ISIS
Originally kidnapped in early January, ISIS published the pictures on February 12, 2015 of the kidnapped Copts in orange jumpsuits indicating that the 21 kidnapped Copts were killed. The article published alongside the photos, found in Dabiq Issue 7 on page 30, explains that this is in response to the “torture and murder” of Kamila Shehata and Wafa Constantine. ISIS further explains that the attack on the church in Baghdad that led to 100 dead, about five years ago, was revenge for Kamila and Wafa (cannot be independently confirmed at this point), but that they were able to access the Copts when ISIS expanded in Libya. On Feb. 15, a video was released of the execution following announcements by the Libyan authorities that the abductees were still alive. A caption on the 5-minute video read: “The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church.”
The names as announced by Anba Ermia. 1. Milad Makeen Zaky 2. Abanub Ayad Atiya 3. Maged Solaiman Shehata 4. Yusuf Shukry Yunan 5. Kirollos Shokry Fawzy 6. Bishoy Astafanus Kamel 7. Somaily Astafanus Kamel 8. Malak Ibrahim Sinweet 9. Tawadros Yusuf Tawadros 10. Girgis Milad Sinweet 11. Mina Fayez Aziz 12. Hany Abdelmesih Salib 13. Bishoy Adel Khalaf 14. Samuel Alham Wilson 15. Worker from Awr village 16. Ezat Bishri Naseef 17. Loqa Nagaty 18. Gaber Munir Adly 19. Esam Badir Samir 20. Malak Farag Abram 21. Sameh Salah Faruq. UPDATE on November 28, 2016: Egyptian prosecution said that Egyptians involved with ISIS were involved in the killing of the 21 Christians in 2015 in Libya. It was also later confirmed that 20 of the victims were Copts, and 1 was Ghanaian.
January 1, 2011 – Bomb Blast in Alexandria Church, 21 dead
At least 21 people were killed and 70 injured in the suspected suicide attack, which happened during a New Year’s Eve service at the al-Qiddissin (Saints) Church. About 1,000 worshippers were attending the Mass at the al-Qiddissin Church in the Sidi Bechr district of the Mediterranean port city.