News Middle East

Monday 18 December 2017

Christians paying price for activism against Morsi

HAMZA HENDAW

With a mob of Muslim extremists on his tail, Christian businessman Emile Naseem and his nephew climbed up on the roof and ran for their lives, jumping from building to building in their southern Egyptian village. Finally they ran out of rooftops.

Forced back on to the street, they were overwhelmed by several men. The attackers hacked at them with axes and beat them with clubs, killing Mr Naseem (41). His nephew survived.

The mob's rampage through the village of Nagaa Hassan, burning dozens of Christian houses and stabbing to death three other Christians, came two days after the military ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Some Christians are paying the price for their activism against Mr Morsi and his Islamist allies in a backlash over his removal last week. Since then, there has been a string of attacks on Christians. In the Sinai Peninsula militants gunned down a priest.

Egypt's Christian minority, about 10pc of the population, long shunned politics for fear of reprisals, relying on their church to make their case to those in power. That changed in the revolutionary fervour when Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 2011. They took it to a new level during Mr Morsi's year in office.

"The Christians have emerged from under the robes of the clergy and will never go back," said Ezzat Ibrahim, an activist from Minya.

Irish Independent

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