They were forced to declare that they burned their own houses down. From Compass Direct, with thanks to Suzy:
ISTANBUL, February 22 (Compass Direct News) — Police detained Christian families in Upper Egypt and forced them to deny arson attacks on their homes during a spate of anti-Christian violence last week, the families said.
Two Coptic Orthodox families said police detained them for 36 hours when they attempted to report a February 13 assault on their homes in Armant, 600 kilometers (373 miles) south of Cairo.
The fires came five days after Muslim groups set four Christian-owned shops alight on February 9.
International media reported that rumors of a love affair between a Christian man and Muslim woman sparked the violence, but local papers said hostilities began over accusations that Christians were blackmailing Muslim women to convert.
In the wake of the violence, police detained eight Muslim young men and Copt Ramy Ishaq, whose relationship with a 19-year-old Muslim woman was the basis for the romance rumors, sources in Armant told Compass.
According to the sources, Ishaq and seven of the Muslims remain in police custody.
Two Copts said that on the evening of February 13 unknown assailants threw burning, kerosene-soaked cotton onto their houses on the outskirts of Armant.
The Christians, who requested anonymity, said that they were able to quickly put out the fires and then went with a group of six family members to report the attack at the police station. Upon their arrival, officials refused to investigate the report, saying that there was no evidence and the damage was minimal.
“Police asked them to sign statements that they had attempted to set their own homes on fire to claim that they were being attacked by Muslims and to demand police protection,” one source told Compass.