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Christian homes on fire in Al-Fawakher village, Minya Province, on 23 April.


Christians attacked following rumours of planned church construction

24 Apr 2024

Extremists attacked the Christian community in Al-Fawakher village in Minya Province, Upper Egypt, following rumours that they were planning to build a church.

CSW sources report that several homes and properties belonging to Christians in the village were destroyed on 23 April, and that local police and firefighters, led by the deputy governor and the head of the police department in Minya, acted quickly to contain the situation.

The police have launched an operation seeking to arrest the instigators of the violence, including those who spread rumours online about plans to construct a church.

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: ‘CSW condemns the latest sectarian attack in Upper Egypt that comes as the Coptic Orthodox community prepares to celebrate Easter. An unacceptable culture of intimidation and discrimination is still far too prevalent in this region despite positive steps taken by the Egyptian authorities in recent years, and the personal commitment of President Sisi to fight sectarian extremism and promote equality of citizenship. Egyptian citizens should all be free to practice any religion or belief of their choosing without fear of threats or physical violence. We commend the swift intervention by the local authorities, and urge the government of Egypt to continue to tackle extremism, sectarian hatred and incitement, ensuring an end to policies and practices which create division between communities.’

In a separate development, the Egyptian government issued a memorandum designating Sunday 5 and Monday 6 May as bank holidays to celebrate Labour Day, which falls on 1 May. The memorandum has sparked outrage amongst the Coptic Orthodox community for ignoring Orthodox Easter Sunday, which falls on 5 May.

Coptic activists suggested to CSW that the move may be intended to appease Egypt’s Salafi Muslim community, who consider recognising Easter to be sinful, as it defies the mainstream Islamic doctrine which denies Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.



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