At least three members of the Coptic Christian minority have been killed so far this year in Egypt, including a couple found in their bed with their throats slit on January 6, the traditional Coptic Christmas Day, reports Christian Today, citing World Watch Monitor (WWM).
The couple has been identified by WWM, an organization that covers Christian persecution across the globe, as Gamal Sami, 60, and his wife, Nadia, 48.
While police have cited robbery as the motivation for the deaths, the woman’s brother and the first person to reach the crime scene, Magdy Amin Girgis, has suggested they were murdered because of their faith, noting that nothing had been taken from the couple’s home.
Girgis told the Christian organization that he found the couple with their throats cut and “drenched in blood,” still on their bed.
The murders followed another deadly attack on a Coptic Christian only three days earlier. Youssef Lamei was murdered in Alexandria on 3 January by an alleged “professional” killer.
The attack on the couple bore similarities with Lamei’s murder, according to reports.
The main suspects for the double killing are two men known only as Mohammad M and Abd al-Aziz Q, according to the police. It is understood that the two men did not know their victims.
The couple is reportedly from the mainly Christian village of Tukh El-Dalkah, near Tala, home to three churches that canceled their Christmas services to mourn the dead.
In a recent op-ed, the Chronicle Herald from Canada argues that Egypt’s Coptic Christians, who make up an estimated ten percent of the country’s population of nearly 95 million, are facing an increase in violent attacks.
Meanwhile, the administration of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi accused the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been designated a terrorist group in Egypt and other Muslim-majority countries.
Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II told Egyptian lawmakers in 2016 that there has been at least one attack against Christians per month during the past three years.
The Chronicle Herald opinion article points out that law enforcement seldom investigates the crimes.
According to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, about 77 incidents of sectarian violence between 2011 and 2016 in Minya province south of Cairo, home to Egypt’s largest Christian community, have occurred.
Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros has accused media outlets of reporting false news about the relationship between Christians and Muslims in Egypt.
“Egypt is not the best society in the world, but both its people and its leadership are trying to become the best society,” declared the pope.
Nevertheless, the Chronicle Herald opines, “Increasingly, Egyptian Christians are speaking out against the government, ignoring the wishes of the church.