Egypt’s Minya Governorate region erupted in violence on 25 November after rumours spread that a young, barely literate Christian man named Girgis Sameeh posted a message on Facebook that was considered insulting to Islam.
In al-Barsha, Girgis’ hometown, hundreds of Muslims attacked the homes of Coptic Christians, also looting and destroying local businesses. The fury of the mob spread to the church of Abou Sefin, where the congregation was celebrating the beginning of a fast for the Advent season.
Thankfully, there were only a few reported injuries. Due to the intervention of a concerned Muslim neighbour, the family of Girgis received protection from the rioters. Following the skirmish, police arrested about a hundred Muslims and Christians, detaining those from both sides to avoid accusations of bias. At last report, 20 Muslims and ten Christians face two weeks’ detention for questioning.
In retaliation to the lockdowns imposed to stop further riots, some Muslim villagers resorted to burning farm buildings used for cattle and feed, as well as boycotting businesses owned by Christians.
Such violent outbursts are not uncommon in Egypt and are often based on rumours. Girgis’ brother cannot believe that he would do such a thing, saying, “That’s not how he was taught to behave.”
Sources: Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin, Mission Network News, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Watani
- Ask God to provide His peace to this troubled Egyptian community. May the Christians of this region walk in obedience to God’s Word, serving as examples of His love.
- Pray for wisdom for the local authorities and protection for Girgis and other innocent civilians caught up in the unrest.
- Uphold those who are now without homes or businesses, and experiencing numerous hardships as a result. Ask the Lord to bless them with needed provision and restoration.
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