In a media release announcing the prayer days, the Bishop said that “after witnessing millions of Egyptians across the whole nation and from all walks of life standing together to peacefully express their desire for a new Egypt, it is unfortunate that this unified effort is being undermined by needless violence and bloodshed.“
A steady increase in attacks on the Christian community has gone largely under-reported, taking place primarily but not exclusively in Upper Egypt. The attacks follow accusations by several Islamist sources, including the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, that Christians were part of a “conspiracy” to remove Morsi’s regime.
On 3 July, a march by Morsi supporters in the village of Dalga in Minya turned violent, with protesters attacking buildings belonging to the Coptic Catholic parish of St George, setting fire to an ‘estraha’, used by priests to rest and reflect, burning down the house of a priest and throwing Molotov cocktails at shops and houses belonging to Copts. Some local Salafis denounced the attack, stressing their solidarity and unity with Christians. Also on 3 July, the Coptic Catholic Church of St George in the village of Delga in Deir Mawas, Minya Province, was looted and torched, and the El-Saleh Church sustained heavy fire. Homes and businesses were looted and torched, while two Copts were injured.
In Luxor, violence erupted after news emerged of a Muslim man who died from injuries after allegedly being attacked by some Christians. In response, groups of Muslims attacked the villages of Naga Hasan and Dabaya, leaving four Copts dead and 32 injured, three of whom remain in hospital in critical condition. Twenty-seven houses belonging to Copts were also burned.
Early on 9 July, masked gunmen opened fire on Mar Mina Church in al-Manakh, Port Said, but escaped before they could be apprehended by the police and army, who were quickly at the scene. On 6 July, in Masaeed in North Sinai, a priest named Father Mina Abboud Sharoubim was driving his car when he was stopped by armed assailants and shot nine times, thrice in the leg and six times in the head and chest. He later died from internal bleeding.
Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said, “We extend our condolences to the families who lost loved ones in violence over the past few days in Egypt. It is important that those responsible for the violence at the Republican Guard barracks are held to account; equally, those who are perpetrating attacks against the Christian community must be apprehended and charged. We stand in solidarity with Egyptians as they pray for their country at this critical time in their nation’s journey to full democracy.”