By Jeremy ReynaldsSenior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
EGYPT (ANS) -- Muslims attacked Christians in the village of Nazlet Faragallah, in the southern Egyptian Minya province, on the evening of Aug. 7. The attack continued until the early hours of Monday morning, Aug. 8.
According to a story by Mary Abdelmassih for the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), one Copt was murdered and homes were looted and torched when Muslims from Nazlet Faragallah together with Muslims from four neighboring villages started to attack. The violence occurred at about 8 p.m. after Muslims broke their Ramadan fast.
According to eyewitnesses, AINA reported, thousands of Muslims entered the village from all sides, firing automatic weapons (mostly in the air), looting and throwing Molotov Cocktails at several homes.
"They even destroyed our irrigation pumps," AINA reported one witness said.
AINA said the first attack was on the house of Father Youanes, pastor of St. George Church. He was beaten, and his home looted and torched.
According to AINA, Maher Nassif Tobias, 50, an employee at the local council, was murdered in his home. He was found by his son. His house was completely looted, including his livestock.
Security forces arrived four hours after the attack began and there were too few of them. "They only had batons in their hands, and were unable to control the situation," said a Coptic village resident.
AINA said he added, "Our village is surrounded by corn fields. The Muslims came into the village to loot and quickly disappeared in the fields. The police could not follow them. They were coming from all directions at the same time."
Nazlet Faragallah has 8000 inhabitants, comprising about 80 percent Copts and 20 percent Muslims.
AINA said the events were preceded on Saturday by an altercation caused by Muslims harassing Christian girls as they came out of a church service in the late afternoon. Stones were hurled by Muslims at the church, breaking five windows. Some 200 Copts staged a sit-in in front of St. George's Church on Sunday afternoon to protest the attack.
AINA reported that in a statement, the security authorities in Minya said the Muslim attack on Nazlet Faragallah was caused by a group of Copts, headed by Haddar Ishaq, firing at Muslims as they came out of the mosque on Sunday afternoon. Copts in the village denied this claim.
AINA said three Muslims have been arrested so far, and three Copts today. None of the Copts were involved in any incident, and one of them had broken his leg two weeks before.
"Security is doing its balancing act again," AINA reported one of the villagers said. "They will use these Copts, who were arrested at random, to bargain for their freedom in exchange for village Copts giving up their rights during the 'reconciliation' meeting."
AINA said it was reported that Muslim women walked the streets, warning that after breaking the Ramadan fast the men would come to finish the Christians off, but this did not happen. That because among other issues, security was present in large numbers in the village.
|Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter,http://www.joyjunction.org He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "Homeless in the City."|
Additional details on "Homeless in the City" are available at http://www.homelessinthecity.