Australian Coptic Movement condemns violent attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt

Nevine Group Photo

Sadly, we have witnessed a surge in attacks on Coptic Christians over the past month of Ramadan in Egypt including several killings, kidnapping, and assaults on women in public. 

The Australian Coptic Movement Association (ACM) is deeply concerned about the surge of violence directed at Egypt’s Coptic Christians over the past few weeks including the following:

*8 April   –  A Coptic Orthodox priest, Fr Arsanios Wedad knifed to death on the streets of Alexandria.

*12 April –  The kidnapping and forced Islamisation of Mariam Waheeb from Bani-Swaif (with reports of other cases)

*27 April –  The Violent assault of Nevine Sobhi by a pharmacist in Menoufia.

*29 April –  The brutal murder of Isaac Dawood in Cairo near the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

*30 April –  The murder of Rani Rifat that occurred in front of a police station in Marsa Matrouh.

President Sisi’s efforts in recent years to tackle Egypt’s security threat and address the rise of potentially destructive ideology are to be commended.

However, the recent sectarian attacks against Coptic Christians in four different provinces must be addressed immediately. We have only seen a response in the case of the murder of Fr Arsanios.

Furthermore, those who kidnapped Mariam Waheeb are still at large as well as the murderers of Isaac Dawood in Cairo and Rani Rifat in Marsa Matrouh.

Coptic Woman assaulted in a pharmacy and forced to accept ‘apology’

According to Coptic Solidarity, On the 27 April in Menofia, Nevin Sobhi, a 30-year-old married mother, went to her local drugstore to pick up medication for her young son, who accompanied her.  On entering, the head pharmacist, Dr. Ali Abu Sa‘da launched into a loud and “hate-filled tirade” against her and proceed to violently assault her for daring to enter his store during Ramadan without any head covering and while wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt.

Ali was aware that Nevin was Christian and, therefore, not obligated to observe Ramadan’s rules.  When the Copt told him as much, he responded with a violent slap to her face.   When the startled woman responded with shock and anger, he slapped her again—all while her scared, young son cried.

Nevin ran outside, “in a state of collapse, crying and incapable of absorbing the shock.”  She contacted her family, and they went to the local police station to report the incident.  There, Nevin received what she called her “third slap.”

Regrettably, a ‘reconciliation session’ was held where Nevine was forced into accepting an apology from her attacker and no charges were laid. The attacker and his family and friends are seen smiling in the photo below.

Nevine's attacker smiling during 'reconciliation session'

Nevine’s attacker smiling during ‘reconciliation session’

The ACM believes these customary ‘reconciliation sessions’ do not adequately address incidents where violent attacks have occurred and should not take the place of an appropriate judicial response. Those who perpetrate violent attacks against other citizens should be held accountable.

The rule of law should be applied. Attempts to solve sectarian attacks by holding such ‘reconciliation sessions’ should be completely abolished. The practice is not only unsustainable but it actually denies the victims of such attacks access to real justice and encourages further attacks.

The Australian Coptic Movement Association calls on President Sisi to take all measures necessary to abolish reconciliation sessions and to ensure that laws are applied equally to ensure legal and judicial processes are being applied in all cases involving attacks on Coptic citizens.

The Australian Coptic Movement Association

Enquiries: aucopticmovement@gmail.com

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