A mob of extremists have attacked the homes of Coptic Christians in the Egyptian village of Dabous.
The attack occured after a wedding taking place in a neighbouring village was interupted by two young Muslim extremists, who bullied and beat a 10-year-old Coptic Christian child.
The attack on the child caused some from the Coptic community to intervene, with the Muslims sustaining injuries. Mina, a 25-year-old resident of the village, told International Christian Concern (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 following Monday, the Muslim individuals involved in this incident beat a Coptic man and his son with a hose in Dabous, causing them to fall off their motorbike.
"At the end of Monday, all of the Muslims gathered to beat the Copts," Mina recalled. "They damaged the windows and doors, and injured around five or six persons.”
Another Coptic witness to the incident 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.”
Mina added that during the course of the attack, a car belonging to a Coptic man was damaged. "The Muslims suggested to make a reconciliation meeting and they will fix all the damages," he added. "Now my father has gone to the police station to follow the situation, but I will stay home. They are treacherous and traitors."
In response to the violence, the Deputy of the Salmalout Eparchy, the Priest Nashed Daoud, told a local news outlet: "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.”
ICC reported that reconciliation meetings are often held following these types of incidents to prevent Coptic Christians from seeking justice through a formal legal system.
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.”