They are following in the illustrious footsteps of the caliph Umar, who is supposed to have said when ordering the ancient, fabled library of Alexandria to be burned: “If the books agree with the Qur’an, they are superfluous. If they disagree with it, they are heretical.”
Until 7pm this afternoon, the following churches and Coptic-owned institutions in Egypt had been burned at the hands of Islamists. Watani lists them here chronologically:
Three churches and six buildings at the monastery of the Holy Virgin and Anba Abra”am in Dalga, Minya, Upper Egypt
The church of Mar-Mina in the district of Abu-Hilal in the town of Minya
The bishopric church of Mar-Girgis (St George) in Sohag, Upper Egypt
The church of the Holy Virgin in Nazla, Fayoum, Lower Egypt
The Baptist church in Beni-Mazar, Minya
Coptic-owned shops in Gumhouriya Street in Assiut, Upper Egypt
The Good Shepherd School in Suez
The Fransiscan School in Suez
The Holy Bible Society in Fayoum
The church of al-Amir Tawadros (St Theodore) in Fayoum
The church of the Holy Virgin in the district of Abu-Hilal in the town of Minya
The Catholic church of St Mark, Minya
The Jesuit church in Abu-Hilal, Minya
The church of Mar-Morqos (St Mark) and its community centre, Sohag
18 houses of Coptic families in Dalga, Minya, including the home of Father Angaelus Melek of the Holy Virgin and Anba Abra”am’s
The Evangelical church on Nassara Street in Abu-Hilal, Minya
The church of Anba Moussa al-Aswad in Minya
Coptic-owned shops, pharmacies, and a doctor’s clinic in Minya
The Jesuit church in Minya (attacked, not burned)
The St Fatima Basilica in Cairo (attacked, not burned)
St Joseph’s School in Minya (attacked, not burned)
The Nile boat al-Dahabiya, owned by the Evangelical Church in Minya
Coptic-owned shops, pharmacy, and hotels on Karnak Street and Cleopatra Street in Luxor (attacked and looted)
The church of Mar-Girgis (St George) in Wasta (attacked)
The church of St Michael on Nemeis Street in Assiut, Upper Egypt
The Adventist church in Assiut; the pastor and his wife were both kidnapped
The Greek church in Suez
The church of Mar-Girgis in Assiut
Coptic houses on Qulta Street in Assiut attacked
The church of Mar-Girgis (St George) in Arish, North Sinai
The church of St Dimiana and the Evangelical church in the village of Zerbi in Fayoum
The offices of the Evangelical foundation in Minya, and those of Umm al-Nour in Beni-Mazar, Minya
The church of Anba Antonius in Kerdassa, Giza
The bishopric church in Etfeeh, Giza
In addition to the attacks against the Copts, their churches, businesses, and property; Egyptians were aghast at attempts by the Islamists to break into the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) in Alexandria and set it on fire. The BA security and staff confronted the assailants in the courtyard, and there was an exchange of gunfire. According to Khaled Azab, the BA”s media manager, the conference hall was plundered, and a number of acquisitions went missing. The glass faÃ§ade was shattered.
In Deir Muwass, Minya, the locals called Watani in horror to report that 30 armed Islamists broke into the local water treatment station and cut off the water supply to the nearby villages and towns, meaning that should a fire erupt there would be no water to put it off.
Coptic youth organisations””including the Maspero Youth Union, Copts Without Chains, The Coptic Consultant Council, and the Coptic Coalition””have all condemned the attacks against the Copts and the inadequate protection they were offered. The demanded security protection, and called upon Egypt’s Muslims to join in their defence.
Father Rafiq Greiche, spokesman of the Catholic Church in Egypt, strongly condemned the attacks against churches and Christians, saying that the Copts were made to pay the price for their participation in the revolution against the Islamist regime on 30 June. He demanded that the State should take a firm stance against the assailants.
Fr Rafiq announced that the Catholic Church has called off the celebrations of the feast of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin tomorrow.
The Coptic Orthodox Church issued a statement in which it said it was closely following on the “lamentable situation” in Egypt today. The statement strongly condemned the “successive attacks against Egypt’s Christians, their churches, property and livelihoods,” and also the attacks against the Egyptian police and civilians. It called upon the Egyptian government and armed forces to defend Egyptians and maintain the unity of Egypt. It also called upon “our Muslim fellow Egyptians to stand against the vicious attack of places of worship which should never be part of any struggle.
“We pray to the One God we all worship for every Egyptian to be a shield to defend the homeland against terrorism and violence. We pray for peace and calm to reign over Egypt.”
Reported by Nader Shukry, Tereza Kamal, Basma William, Michael Victor, Samira Mazahy, Ra”fat Edward, Girgis Waheeb
14 August 2013