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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
An estimated 200 men attacked two Christian homes, injuring seven in the latest incident of violence against Christians in the villages of Samalout, Minya, Egypt
International Christian Concern
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that at least seven individuals and two homes were attacked in the latest round of violence against Christians in Upper Egypt. What, in a normal setting, would have been a conflict between school children, escalated to an attack by a large crowd of Muslims on Christians who are frustrated again with the lack of protection from security officials.
According to ICC's sources, Ahmed Maher Mekhimer, a Muslim student in grade 8 used to bully a Christian student called Amgad Emad Zikry. Then last week, Amgad's cousin, Youssef Talaat Ayad, stood up for his cousin and this was what sparked a wave of violence that swept Kom El Raheb village in Samalout, Minya.
On Monday October 5after the school day finished around 4:00 p.m., a group of men from the El Feema family attacked the home of Talaat Ayad, Youssef's father. The group was comprised of as many as 200, Father Istaphanos Shehata said in a radio interview. These were details that Father Sarophim, a priest of the Virgin Mary Church in Abo Sidhom, confirmed in an interview with ICC.
The attacked started with Talaat's Stationary and Grocery store, located on the first floor of the family home. They looted the store and caused major destruction. Talaat's hand was broken by the men at the store.
The mob then tried to break into the house but they could not get through the iron gate, so they approached from the back and climbed a short wall into the house. They then attacked Youssef and old brother, Ishak, age 18, leaving them wounded with several bruises. Talat's wife, Sameeha, was also injured with a cut to the head. She was later taken to the hospital where she would need five stitches to close the wounds.
The crowd then left and headed to the home of Amgad. Amgad was not there, but his mother and two others were injured, including his cousin Emad, who had a fractured skull and leg as a result of the attacks.
"After the victims arrived at the hospital the police and someone from the District Attorney's office came to take their statements as a standard procedure," Father Sarophim, told ICC.
"But no arrest warrant was issued, even though the criminals are known to everybody," Fr. Sarophim said. "As usual the police dealt with the situation with apathy."
The families were preparing to leave the village when, after numerous requests from the Bishopric of Samalout, the security forces sent a small group of officers to maintain the calm in the village.
This is at least the third incident of attacks on Christians in villages in Samalout in the past month.
Todd Daniels, Regional Manager for the Middle East said, "Again we are learning of violence against the Christian community in Upper Egypt and again we are hearing of the absence of protection from the security forces or punishment for those responsible. Officials in Egypt must urgently take necessary steps to ensure that all Egyptians - including Christians - have their basic rights protected. The government of President Al-Sisi needs to demonstrate genuine leadership that goes beyond mere words in protecting the Christian citizens of Egypt."
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