JAFFA, Israel – Egyptian prosecutors have ordered the release of five suspects in last week’s highly publicized attack on a Christian woman in the Nile Delta region.
The suspects, among them the relatives of a young Muslim woman who allegedly had an affair with the victim’s son, were released on bail.
The alleged lover of the Christian man denied the allegations, and said they were spread by her husband following a domestic dispute. Clashes between Christians and Muslims erupted following the charges, during which an elderly Coptic woman was assaulted, undressed, and paraded naked in the streets of her village in Alminia region.
Meanwhile, the authorities have continued their efforts to restore calm, after the Coptic activist Abram Louis revealed that another Christian woman was sexually assaulted during the riots. He accused the governor and the head of security of being accomplices, because they failed to intervene on her behalf.
Louis recounted another alleged incident, in which he said a group of Muslim men violated the body of a Christian who was murdered in the clashes. He said that in the Asyut region, a Christian man was murdered and tied to a lamppost after his son allegedly had an affair with a Muslim woman.
Louis said that the reaction of the “Family House,” an institution headed by the head of the prestigious Sunni Al-Azhar seminary and the Coptic pope was “shameful.”
He added that letting the culprits go unpunished would give impetus to more attacks against Christians. He said that the media storm around the recent clashes in Alminia was in reaction to the authorities’ feckless handling of them.
“Until the culprits are brought to justice, the reconciliation attempts are meaningless,” he said, adding that President Abdel Fatah Sisi’s calls to catch the attackers are useless “because nobody listens to him.”
The Egyptian authorities have come under fire from the Christian community. Soud Sabet, a Christian woman, said that she was kicked out of a police station when she came in to file a complaint and accused of inflaming ethnic tensions.
Father Makarios, the head of the Coptic community in Alminia, said he hoped the assailants would be brought to justice.