CAIRO, EGYPT -Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi took out their frustrations on church property and Christian-owned homes and businesses in response to Wednesday’s destruction of two Muslim Brotherhood encampments in Cairo after negotiations had broken down between the Brotherhood and Egypt’s interim government.
With the Army standing ready in reserve, security forces began bulldozing the Brotherhood protests camps that have stood since July in Nasr City, a suburb of downtown Cairo. However, after only employing tear gas, security forces soon resorted to firearms in response to reported gunfire by Morsi supporters from within the camps.
In the aftermath of the razing of its camps, the Brotherhood made good on its threats against Egypt’s minority Christians as its pro-Morsi members set fires that gutted almost 27 church buildings, according to the Watani Weekly. Mobs of Brotherhood members also attacked a monastery, two Christian schools and set scores of Coptic-owned homes and businesses on fire.
Wael Ibrahim, manager of the Assuit branch of the Egyptian Bible Society, told Morning Star News that after a mob burnt down his building, it set fire to every Christian-owned store, one store at a time.
“They didn’t just attack the store,” he said, “they attacked the cafe and every store on the street that had any connection with Christians.”
Attacks by mobs of Morsi supporters were scattered across the country, ranging from The Church of Mar-Girgis in the Sinai Peninsula to churches in Upper Egypt. The Brotherhood spared no denomination, although Coptic Christians were especially singled-out for retribution.
The Coptic Church had publicly supported Egypt’s military when Patriarch Tawadros II stood alongside General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after the July 3 military coup that ousted Morsi; in response, Islamists issued death threats against Tawadros who is now in hiding, according to International Christian Concern.
By day’s end, 235 civilians were dead and more than 1,000 injured, according to the Egyptian Health Ministry. However, the AP reported 525 dead and more than 3,700 injured based on only the documented number of victims who were taken to hospitals; Brotherhood leaders insist that the actual death toll — which has surpassed 600 and is still climbing as of this report — is closer to 2,000!
By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent