By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)– Egypt’s new government faced pressure to end escalating sectarian clashes Wednesday, July 17, amid reports that minority Christians are fleeing their homes after at least nine believers were killed by Islamic supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.
Among the latest to be killed in this month’s anti-Christian violence was businessman Magdy Lamei, whose decapitated body was found in the town of Sheikh Zuwayed on Thursday, July 11, Christians said.
Suspected members of an unidentified Islamic militant group reportedly kidnapped the Christian on July 6, and apparently killed him on the first day of Ramadan, the annual Muslim month of fasting, which in Egypt began on July 10.
Also on July 6 Coptic Priest Mina Aboud Sharween died in Northern Sinai’s provincial capital, El Arish, after gunmen opened fire on him while driving by on a motorbike, BosNewsLife reported earlier.
Christians said the priest died from internal bleeding as he was shot nine times, thrice in the leg and six times in the head and chest.
Other Christians were killed in separate attacks that also saw the torching of dozens of Christian homes and several church buildings, according to several church officials amd rights activists.
Analysts have linked the violence to allegations that Coptic Christians they were behind this month’s military coup that saw the overthrow of President Morsi.
“Copts have always been subject to religious persecution, but what happened this past week was a negative reaction to the [General] al-Sisi statement ending Morsi’s term,” said Ishaq Ibrahim of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
“Muslim Brotherhood members were spreading rumors since then saying it is a Coptic conspiracy to exclude them from power,” he added in published remarks.
It was not immediately clear whether Egypt’s new cabinet, which include three Coptic Christians, would be able to end the violence.
Observers noted that not one of the 34 cabinet members belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood, the 80-year-old Islamist movement that propelled Morsi to the presidency a year ago, or to any other Islamist party.
There is also concern that Egypt’s defense minister, General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, has emerged as the country’s de facto leader, adding the title of deputy to the prime minister to his portfolio. And without reaching out to opponents, the mainly liberal and leftist politicians that dominate the new military-backed government will find it difficult to restore peace on the streets of Cairo and several other volatile cities.
Representatives of Coptic Christians, who comprise just roughly 10 percent of Egypt’s population, have expressed concerns about possible more violence directed against churches in the Islamic nation.
(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since 2004).
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