While the United Nations worries about a local shooting in Florida, in Egypt a group of Islamists who back their nation’s ousted leader, fellow Islamist Mohammed Morsi, have taken over the town of Dalga where 20,000 Christians now live under oppression, fear, and violence. Already, a 1600-year-old monastery has been burned and looted, and 40 Christian homes and businesses have been attacked (looted and burned), including the home of an 80 year-old priest:
Armed men can be seen in the streets, and nearly every day Islamists hold rallies at a stage outside the police station, demanding Morsi’s reinstatement.
Most Christians remain indoors as much as possible, particularly during the rallies. They say they are routinely insulted on the streets by Muslims, including children. Christian women stay home at all times, fearing harassment by the Islamists, according to multiple Christians who spoke to the AP. Most requested that their names not be published for fear of reprisals.
“The Copts in Dalga live in utter humiliation,” said local rights activist Ezzat Ibrahim. “They live in horror and cannot lead normal lives.”
None of the town’s churches held Mass for a month, until Wednesday, when one was held in one of the monastery’s two churches. About 25 attended, down from the usual 500 or more.
“They don’t want to see any Christian with any power, no matter how modest,” Yoannis said of the hard-liners now running Dalga. “They only want to see us poor without money, a trade or a business to be proud of.”
President Obama’s rush to “stabilize” Egypt by calling for the ouster of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak and immediate elections afterward is widely seen as a crucial factor in bringing Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood to electoral power. Almost immediately, Morsi attempted to seize dictatorial power by upending the Egyptian constitution. The military responded with a coup and now the nation’s minority Christian communities are being victimized in this power vacuum.
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