Monday, March 8, 2010

Fear Of Muslim Collective Punishment Grips Christian Villagers in Upper Egypt

Fear has gripped the inhabitants of the upper Egyptian village of Sheikh Telada in Samalout, 250 kilometers south of Cairo, as they anticipate collective punishment against them by the village Muslims, in the wake of two sectarian incidents which took place in the village during February. They fear their fate would be similar to that of Farshout, Nag Hamadi and Bahgoura, where Muslims destroyed, burnt and looted Coptic homes and properties prompted by incidents provoked by Muslims against only one Copt.

State security forces have forced the Coptic villagers to remain indoors, and place a news blackout on the village. The presence of state security in the area is viewed with suspicion. Activist Mariam Ragy of the advocacy group Katibatibia sees in their presence "a way to keep Copts prisoners in their own homes and not for their own protection." Rafaat Samir of the Egyptian Union Human Rights Organization sees in it a slow death for the Coptic villagers. "Is the state security incapable of protecting the Copts so as to force them to remain indoors and abandon their work and schools?" asks Coptic activist Wagih Yacoub. "Is security so powerless every time the Copts are placed under siege by a mob imposing collective punishment on all village Copts?" MORE HERE

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