On 25 November, a mob of enraged Muslim radicals attacked Coptic properties and homes in Manshiet El-Naghamish village, located in the Sohag Governorate of Egypt. The attack was incited when rumours of a church being constructed spread among the community’s Muslim population.
More than 2,000 Coptic Christians live in El-Naghamish, with the nearest church being over five kilometres away in the neighbouring Al-Kosheh village. When Christian villagers in El-Naghamish built a four-story building to be used as a community centre, preschool, and retirement home, Muslims in the nearby vicinity assumed that the building would become a church. The Christians of El-Naghamish have, in fact, applied for a permit to build a church, but are still awaiting approval from the government.
According to local sources, when the bishop of El-Balyana and Al-Kosheh was asked to preside over a prayer meeting on 22 November, Muslim villagers became more upset. On the evening of 24 November leaflets calling on local Muslims to gather and attack the Christian community the following day were distributed.
“On Friday at noon, 25 November, following the Muslim prayers, a great deal of fanatic Muslim young men, some of them were carrying gas canisters and rocks while others came armed with automatic rifles, clubs, machetes and knives, they attacked Copts and Coptic-owned houses,” said Samir Nashed, a Christian resident of El-Naghamish.
The attack resulted in four Copts being injured, the total destruction of a Christian-owned guesthouse, the destruction of nine Coptic homes, and the looting and burning of four Coptic-owned shops.
“The attackers cut off the road so that the fire trucks could not enter the village; they also cut off the water and power supply to the village,” Nashed explained.
After police gained control of the situation, they arrested 18 Muslims involved in the attack. The Governor of Sohag and the Chief of Security of Sohag visited the scene and held a reconciliation session between the two communities.
Source: International Christian Concern
- Pray the Lord will heal the injured, console the fearful and provide for those who have suffered loss.
- Pray the authorities will do more to protect Christian communities and not be dismissive of the ongoing tensions and threats. Pray the perpetrators will be dealt with justly.
- Pray the church in Egypt may rejoice at the powerful working of the Holy Spirit as He adds to the number of believers in Egypt and gives them the strength to endure.