Date: October 8, 2020
Christian Child Beaten, Adults Injured in Weekend Violence
Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on October 5, 2020, a group of extremists attacked the homes of Coptic Christians in the Egyptian village of Dabous (Minya Governorate).
The mob attack was planned on Saturday evening, following an incident at a neighboring village’s wedding. Two young Muslim adults bullied and beat a 10-year-old Coptic Christian child. Some Christian adults subsequently confronted the two attackers. Mina, a 25-year-old resident of the village, explained to ICC, “The cause of the story was that two Muslim men who don’t belong to our village beat a young Coptic kid. The Coptic men didn’t accept that.” The confrontation became violent and resulted in the Muslim individuals receiving injuries.
On Monday morning, one of the Muslim individuals involved in this incident retaliated by beating a Coptic man and his son with a hose in Dabous, causing them to fall off their motorbike. Mina continued, “At the end of Monday, all of the Muslims gathered to beat the Copts. They damaged the windows and doors, and injured around five or six persons.”
Describing the incident, one Coptic man said, “The attack started with a Muslim woman screaming. The extremists attacked the Copts’ houses, [even though] there were security bodies whose job it is to protect the church. They did not call the police, but the Copts did. Then the police came, and the extremists escaped to the farms and grass.”
Pointing to some of the damage, Mina said, “This was a car damaged which belongs to a Coptic man. The Muslims suggested to make a reconciliation meeting and they will fix all the damages. Now my father has gone to the police station to follow the situation, but I will stay home. They are treacherous and traitors.”
The Deputy of the Salmalout Eparchy, the Priest Nashed Daoud, told Watani, “This was an unjustified attack. We are in contact with the investigation officers and prosecution. We want officers of wisdom to work in this case, so they don’t let any party raise violence here.”
Multiple injuries were reported from the incident. Reconciliation meetings are often used following mob attacks to prevent Coptic Christians from seeking justice through a formal legal system and frequently result in victim-blaming rather than accountability. The situation in Dabous remains tense, and the outcome uncertain. The village is located within an Egyptian governorate heavily populated by Christians, and community-based violence toward them by Islamic extremists is common.
Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “We cannot forget that this incident started because Christian adults defended a young child from the violence of Muslim men. The subsequent mob attack against Christian homes sends the clear message that Christians should remain silent when witnessing abuse. Neither the targeting of a child, nor of a community, because of their shared identity should be accepted by the authorities. We urge local officials to hold those who planned and participated in the mob accountable, as well as those who facilitated the abuse of the child before Monday’s incident.”
HOW TO PRAY: Pray for healing for all those injured in these attacks. Pray for restoration for those who lost property in the mob attack. Pray for peace between religious groups in this region.