(AINA) -- On Thursday evening, June 30, Muslims looted and torched
Christian homes and businesses in the village of western Kolosna in
Samalut, Minya province. It was reported that some 10 Christians were
injured, but none went to hospital and first aid was administered at
Muslim violence broke out when a Coptic couple was returning
to Kolosna by bus when the wife was severely sexually harassed by
Muslims at the bus terminal. The husband tried to defend his wife but
was severely beaten.
Coptic witnesses said that shortly after the
altercation thousands of Muslims from the predominantly Muslim east side
of Kolosna roamed the western side of Kolosna, which is about 75%
Coptic, and started looting and torching Christian property. Christians
hid in their homes for fear of attacks by the Muslim mob.
calls were made to CTV, Coptic TV Channel, asking for help and besieged
resident reported on live television the horror of the mob attacks,
saying Muslims surrounded Christian homes and chanted "Allahu Akbar" and
shouted "Get their weapons."
"They were cursing the cross and
taunting us that we will stay inside and never be allowed in the streets
again," said one caller to the television program.
Copts reported that Muslims were armed with swords, batons and guns and they shot into the air.
were 3 army and 2 central security vehicles, in addition to one local
police car, which was not enough to contain the attack," said an
eyewitness, adding "not that they wanted to contain it."
indicate 6 Coptic homes, including the home of the harassment victim ere
looted or torched, as well as 3 supermarkets, an auto parts store, a
foundry, a timber shop and a clothing store.
Father Estephanos, a
priest from nearby Samalut, said in an interview with the US-based
Way-TV that the Copts contacted the diocese in Samalut asking for help.
"The army commander, the army and the military police were contacted,
but arrived three hours later and did not take action while properties
were looted and torched. They let everything to happen."
Estephanos said that while the army was in the village, beside torching
and trying to break into Christian homes, the Muslims were on the main
road of Kolosna, searching cars. "If the cars belonged to Christians,
its passengers were beaten, insulted and windshields were smashed. If
the car belonged to Muslims, it passed safely. All this happened while
the army stood there watching." He said that Muslims threw Molotov
cocktails to burn Christian property.
The army searched Christian
homes, looking for weapons, and found one rusty rifle in the home of the
harassment victim. The police officer could was unable to fire the
rifle, according to Coptic activist Mariam Ragy. Never-the-less, nine
members of the victim's family were arrested and charged with possession
Way TV said that their correspondent was stabbed by the mob while trying to cover the incident live in Kolosna.
Botros, who comes from Kolosna, said the incident was a pre-planned
attack by Salafists who came from outside the village and who were aided
by local Muslims.
After several attempts to disperse the Muslim
mob failed, the army fired teargas. A curfew was imposed on Kolosna
"We are fed up. Every few days an incident takes
place between individuals such as this one, where a Coptic man was
simply defending his wife and his honor against Muslims, turns into an
attack on Christians," said activist Nabil Naggar. "We have to blame the
policy of impunity adopted by the Army, which lets Muslims get away
scot-free every time they attack Copts."
By Mary Abdelmassih