Egypt – “Massive Chaos” as violence erupts between Christians and Muslims

Christians in Egypt have become targets of violence yet again in the early hours of Saturday 21 November, as a Muslim mob attacked Christians and Christian property in the town of Farshoot and neighbouring villages, forcing Christians to seek refuge indoors. The violence was prompted by reports of sexual abuse against a Muslim girl by a 21-year-old Christian on 18 November. Witnesses say that up to 3000 Muslims gathered outside the police headquarters in Farshoot where the alleged attacker was being detained, pending the results of an investigation and forensic tests, in an effort to kidnap and murder him. Ten pharmacies and 55 Christian-owned shops and businesses were looted, vandalised and burnt, cars were attacked and some Christian families were thrown out of their homes. At least seven Christians were injured in the violence, including one Christian leader who is currently in hospital with a fractured skull. The mob made wooden crosses and burnt them in the street. According to one witness, “We have never been so frightened and humiliated in all our lives … our religion, and our Lord, were openly insulted.” Although security forces were deployed, witnesses report that they took no action to stop the violence and were stationed simply to protect the Farshoot police headquarters after the angry mob showered it with stones, entered and attacked officers. No Sunday services were held on 22 November in the area owing to concerns over the safety of Christian congregations. Christians condemn the alleged rape and protested at the scale of the retaliation. One prominent Christian leader reported that the attacks were apparently pre-planned, which would suggest that the allegation of “rape” was used as a pretext. He also commented, “An individual incident does not call for an attack on masses of peaceful Christians.” • Pray for the Christians in Farshoot and neighbouring villages, that they will be able to rebuild their lives without fear of further attacks. • Pray that the attackers will turn from their violence and come to know and love the Lord Jesus. • Pray that the Egyptian police will protect all citizens from violence, whatever their religion.

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