Christians Under Attack

Year

2013

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Violence broke out across the country after six-week-old protest camps in support of ousted President Morsi were forcefully dispersed by Egypt’s police and army, killing hundreds. While the highest number of causalities was recorded in Cairo, where the sit-ins were largest, on the morning of Aug. 14, a pro-Morsi sit-in was also violently broken up in Minya’s Balas Square. Within minutes, Islamists were fighting security forces and rampaging through the streets, pillaging shops and museums and attacking churches. Christians say they are being blamed for supporting an Army-backed youth movement that resulted in Morsi’s ouster on July 3.

In a Catholic church in the village of Mallawi, one hour away from Minya’s capital, Father Malak Girgis Ishaaq sought refuge with his Muslim neighbors when at least four masked men with beards entered his church and set fire to it with cans of petrol. A decapitated statue of the Virgin Mary is among the few items that remain standing. Muslims and Christians from the neighborhood, some armed with guns, eventually drove the attackers out, and put out the blaze.

MINYA EGYPT - June 13: Christian farmers with tattoos of Jesus work their fields near MINYA, EGYPT on June 13 . (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya EGYPT - August 26: Photos of Minya, EGYPT on August 26. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

6/15/10 - Aswan, Egypt

(Credit Image: David Degner / www.daviddegner.com)

Minya Egypt - August 17: Friday two churches in the village of Mallawi near Minya, Egypt on August 17. One of the Coptic churchs of Millawi was set on fire and partial burnt and looted by a small mob. After the attack on the pro-Morsy sit in where more than 600 people died, Morsy supporters gathered after Friday prayer storming and burning two churches, and some Christian owned shops in the village of Mallawi. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya EGYPT - August 28: Photos of Minya, EGYPT on August 28. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya EGYPT - August 25: Photos of Minya, EGYPT on August 25. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Fayoum EGYPT - September 01: Men stand and sit in the gutted chapel for Sunday mass in St. Mary Church in Nazla, on the outskirts of Cairo 3 churches were attacked in Fayoum, EGYPT on September 01. (Photo by David Degner / Helsingin Sanomat)

Fayoum EGYPT - September 01: Father Kirolas leads the Sunday mass in St. Mary Church in Nazla, on the outskirts of Cairo 3 churches were attacked in Fayoum, EGYPT on September 01. (Photo by David Degner / Helsingin Sanomat)

Fayoum EGYPT - September 01: Father Kirolas sprinkles the members of his church with water after the Sunday mass in St. Mary Church in Nazla, on the outskirts of Cairo 3 churches were attacked in Fayoum, EGYPT on September 01. (Photo by David Degner / Helsingin Sanomat)

Minya EGYPT - August 28: Photos of Minya, EGYPT on August 28. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya Egypt - August 17: Friday two churches in the village of Mallawi near Minya, Egypt on August 17. The shell of the Evangelical church of Millawi is all that is left after a group attacked looted it and set it on fire. After the attack on the pro-Morsy sit in where more than 600 people died, Morsy supporters gathered after Friday prayer storming and burning two churches, and some Christian owned shops in the village of Mallawi. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya EGYPT - August 25: Photos of Minya, EGYPT on August 25. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya EGYPT - August 25: Photos of Minya, EGYPT on August 25. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya Egypt - August 17: Friday two churches in the village of Mallawi near Minya, Egypt on August 17. One of the Coptic churchs of Millawi was set on fire and partial burnt and looted by a small mob. After the attack on the pro-Morsy sit in where more than 600 people died, Morsy supporters gathered after Friday prayer storming and burning two churches, and some Christian owned shops in the village of Mallawi. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya EGYPT - August 28: Islamist graffiti covers the walls of downtown Minya, before the attacks on the 14th of August christian shops were marked with a red X, those marked with an X were attacked, in Minya, EGYPT on August 28. Now most of the graffiti is referring to General Sisi and Pope Tawadros as a traitors. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya EGYPT - August 25: Photos of Minya, EGYPT on August 25. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya EGYPT - August 27: A bullet hole pocks the wall in the women's quarters of the house of Girgas Garas, a prominent Christian businessman in Mallawi, EGYPT on August 27. The attackers broke into the family house and stole everything of value while the women cowered in the top floor. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Coptic christians gathered in the Church of Abassaya to mourn those that were killed the night before.

A funeral mass and protest were held in central Cairo today for the victims of yesterdays attack. Families of those killed identified their dead and prepared them for burial.

David Degner / ZUMApress

Minya EGYPT - August 27: Assistant Father Malek Girges of the Mallawi Coptic Church stands in the remains of his office in Mallawi, EGYPT on August 27. Father Girges was in the church grounds while it was being attacked. After the attackers entered he, and the few remaining guards slipped out the back and hid in their muslim neighbors house. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya Egypt - August 17: Friday two churches in the village of Mallawi near Minya, Egypt on August 17. One of the Coptic churchs of Millawi was set on fire and partial burnt and looted by a small mob. This was the office of the pastor of the church. After the attack on the pro-Morsy sit in where more than 600 people died, Morsy supporters gathered after Friday prayer storming and burning two churches, and some Christian owned shops in the village of Mallawi. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 11: Spectators at the site of the bombing, December 11, 2016 in Cairo, Egypt. A bomb exploded inside the Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of Abbassia with wounded and killed during morning mass. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

Minya Egypt - August 17: Friday two churches in the village of Mallawi near Minya, Egypt on August 17. Volunteers fill in the windows of the shell of the Evangelical church of Millawi which is all that is left after a group attacked looted it and set it on fire. After the attack on the pro-Morsy sit in where more than 600 people died, Morsy supporters gathered after Friday prayer storming and burning two churches, and some Christian owned shops in the village of Mallawi. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya Egypt - August 17: Friday two churches in the village of Mallawi near Minya, Egypt on August 17. One of the Coptic churchs of Millawi was set on fire and partial burnt and looted by a small mob. After the attack on the pro-Morsy sit in where more than 600 people died, Morsy supporters gathered after Friday prayer storming and burning two churches, and some Christian owned shops in the village of Mallawi. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya EGYPT - August 27: The owner of a small sweets show, left, is comforted by his neighbor in Mallawi, EGYPT on August 27. The owner described how on the morning of the attack he stood outside his shop as a crowd started attacking the nearby police station, members of the crowd told him they wouldn't touch the shops, but in the afternoon he got a call from his landlord that the crowd had torn apart his shop. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya EGYPT - August 27: Photos of Minya, EGYPT on August 27. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya EGYPT - August 27: Muharraq Monastery is famous for being the last place that Mary and baby Jesus were in Egypt before being transported back to Palestine according to Coptic tradition, between Assiut and Minya EGYPT on August 27. The monastery, based in a very rural area of upper Egypt, is surrounded by layers of walls and a medieval castle-like structure built to withstand the long term physical threats that christians have faced in Egypt. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya EGYPT - August 27: Father Karas inspects the work being created at the wood workshop in Muharraq Monestary, EGYPT on August 27. They often create the woodwork for in the pews and altars of Coptic churches. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya EGYPT - August 27: A template sits on the workbench of the wood workshop of Muharraq Monestary, between Assiut and Minya EGYPT on August 27. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya EGYPT - August 27: Father Karas walks to evening prayer in the Muharraq Monastery of Minya, EGYPT on August 27. The wall behind him is designed with a wooden bridge that can be pulled away if anyone attacks the monastery. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Minya EGYPT - August 27: Muharraq Monastery is famous for being the last place that Mary and baby Jesus were in Egypt before being transported back to Palestine according to Coptic tradition, between Assiut and Minya EGYPT on August 27. The monastery, based in a really rural area of upper Egypt, is surrounded by layers of walls and a medieval castle-like structure from the long term threats that christians have faced in Egypt. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

Fayoum EGYPT - September 01: Members of St. Mary Church in Nazla, inspect the ruins of cars and their church on the outskirts of Cairo 3 churches were attacked in Fayoum, EGYPT on September 01. (Photo by David Degner / Helsingin Sanomat)

Fayoum EGYPT - September 01: Members of St. Mary Church in Nazla, inspect the ruins of cars and their church on the outskirts of Cairo 3 churches were attacked in Fayoum, EGYPT on September 01. (Photo by David Degner / Helsingin Sanomat)

MINYA EGYPT - June 12: The son of a part time farmer and trader cleans the stall behind his house in the small village of Abu Qurqas near MINYA, EGYPT on June 12. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

MINYA EGYPT - June 12: Atef, a farmer who left his house in a mainly muslim neighborhood for a christian neighborhood after a sectarian fight lead to his house being invaded and damaged near MINYA, EGYPT on June 12 . (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

MINYA EGYPT - June 12: Young men relax in the Nile beside the majority christian village of Abu Qurqas near MINYA, EGYPT on June 12 . (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

MINYA EGYPT - June 12: A young men walks on the Nile beside the majority christian village of Abu Qurqas near MINYA, EGYPT on June 12. (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

MINYA EGYPT - June 12: Young men watch the sunset and relax by the nile in the mainly christian town of Abu Qarqas near MINYA, EGYPT on June 12 . (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

MINYA EGYPT - June 12: An icon of Jesus is displayed beside the television of a Christian farmers house near MINYA, EGYPT on June 12 . (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

MINYA EGYPT - June 12: A mainly christian neighborhood of Abu Qarqas as seen through the doors of an evangelical church near MINYA, EGYPT on June 12 . (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

MINYA EGYPT - June 12: A boy with a tattoo of the cross holds one of his pet pigeons in Abo Qarqas near MINYA, EGYPT on June 12 . (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

MINYA EGYPT - June 13: Atef a Christian farmer who was driven out of his home in a muslim neighborhood of Abu Qarqas tends to his field near MINYA, EGYPT on June 13 . (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

MINYA EGYPT - June 13: Christian farmers discus prices and trading in Abu Qarqas near MINYA, EGYPT on June 13 . (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

MINYA EGYPT - June 13: The field of a christian farmer near MINYA, EGYPT on June 13 . (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

MINYA EGYPT - June 13: A christian farmer walks through his field near MINYA, EGYPT on June 13 . (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

MINYA EGYPT - June 13: Christian farmers work their fields near MINYA, EGYPT on June 13 . (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 11: Spectators at the site of the bombing, December 11, 2016 in Cairo, Egypt. A bomb exploded inside the Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of Abbassia with wounded and killed during morning mass. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

MINYA EGYPT - June 13: Christian farmers work their fields near MINYA, EGYPT on June 13 . (Photo by David Degner / Getty Images)

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 11: Spectators at the site of the bombing, December 11, 2016 in Cairo, Egypt. A bomb exploded inside the Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of Abbassia with wounded and killed during morning mass. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 11: Spectators at the site of the bombing, December 11, 2016 in Cairo, Egypt. A bomb exploded inside the Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of Abbassia with wounded and killed during morning mass. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).