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Order to evict Christian families from Egyptian village overturned

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Egypt

A parliamentary commission has overturned the ruling of a Muslim-led tribunal that ordered the eviction of eight Christian families from an Egyptian village.

Downtown-Alexandria_4X3.jpg
The announcement was made at a public meeting in Alexandria
Joseph a / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The families were forcibly removed from Kobry-el-Sharbat in Alexandria in a “humiliating” agreement made on 1 February to placate Muslims who had twice attacked Christian property there. The violence at the end of January had been sparked by an unsubstantiated rumour that a Christian man, Mourad Girguis, had taken illicit images of a Muslim woman.

Christians protested against the eviction order, and Christian MP Dr Emad Gad attempted to raise the matter, and the wider issue of unofficial “reconciliation meetings”, in parliament.

A fact-finding commission delegated by the Egyptian parliament then met with representatives of the evicted Christian families, members of the tribunal that had ordered their removal, and two Christian leaders.

At a public meeting in Alexandria on 16 February, the commission nullified the rulings of the tribunal. It called for the safe return of the five Soliman families, who had not been involved in the dispute over the images, to their homes.

The commission referred a decision to the judiciary on the return of the three families related to Mourad Girguis and also the Muslims who burned down the homes of Christians.

Mr Girguis was charged and released on bail on 15 February. But there appears to be no evidence against him.

Dr Gad said:

The video about a Muslim woman was not found and there is no evidence of the woman having existed. This proves that, as suspected, the accusations were fabricated in order to forcibly evict Mourad Girguis and his family from the village.

On-going violence

Elsewhere in Egypt, anti-Christian violence rages on. A church in the village of Meet Bashar in Zagazig, Sharqia province, has been torched, the Rev. Guirgis Gameel threatened with death, and the homes and vehicles of Christians set alight.

The violence broke out over the disappearance of teenager Rania Khalil, the daughter of a Christian mother and a father who converted to Islam. Rania went to live with her father six months ago and is said to have converted to Islam. On 12 February, she abruptly vanished. Mr Gameel said she had had a disagreement with her father, who had arranged for her to marry a Muslim man.

Accusing the church of holding Rania, a mob of thousands of Muslims attacked the building with stones and petrol bombs. Violence continued for the next three days until it was revealed that the 16-year-old had not been kidnapped and was at the local security directorate.

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    • Give thanks that as believers in some areas of Egypt continue to be at risk of violence from Islamists, Barnabas Fund is able to provide various kinds of practical help for needy Christians there, especially those most affected by the political turmoil. We are supporting Christian families in Upper Egypt with housing costs, medicines, food and schooling for their children, and 30 Christian students who were on the verge of dropping out of education because of lack of money have received funding to complete their education. Pray for all those receiving this help, that they will also be encouraged spiritually. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 9 hours ago

    • Give thanks that the authorities in Egypt are pursuing justice for the Christian community following widespread violence against them by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood last summer. Christians were scapegoated by the Islamists for the downfall of President Mohammed Morsi. On 14 August, mobs torched scores of churches, Christian institutions and private property in what was described as the worst single day of violence against the Egyptian Church since the 14th century. Over 100 Muslims have been charged in connection with the attacks; at the time of writing they were due to stand trial for rioting, attacking citizens and targeting the churches and homes of Christians. Pray that justice will be done and restitution made to churches and individuals who suffered material losses. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Jul 2014 00:00

    • “I was so happy and treasure this Word of God. It brings me so much peace and hope.” Uu Dee KoMang, an elderly woman in Burma (Myanmar), was one of many Christians who recently received a Kachin Bible through Barnabas Fund. Two years ago the Burmese army entered her village and ordered everyone to leave within the hour. Uu Dee took some clothes and food and ran, but her Bible was too heavy to carry. Now living in a relocation camp, she regretted not taking it, until the Bibles from Barnabas arrived. Pray that God’s Word will comfort and strengthen these believers who have lost so much and will give them encouragement for the future. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Jul 2014 00:00

    • Pray for three Christian prisoners of conscience in Vietnam who are being denied access to Bibles and other sources of spiritual support. Prison guards in Hanoi and Thanh Hoa province have refused to allow Le Quoc Quan, a lawyer and activist, and bloggers Maria To Phong Tan and Paul Tran Minh Nhat to receive visits from their church leaders and have prevented them from receiving Communion. Maria is serving a ten-year prison sentence in a harsh labour camp; she has been beaten by other inmates. Pray that the Lord will sustain and build up the faith of our brothers and sister as they cry out to Him in their need (Psalm 142:6). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Jul 2014 00:00

    • Five ethnic Hmong Christian families in Vietnam have been attacked by their neighbours in attempts to get them to renounce their faith. On 26 February, Hang A Khua and his family were ordered to recant by public security officers, backed by around 30 villagers from Trun Phu in Dien Bien province; when they refused, the officers ordered the villagers to attack them. The mob ransacked and demolished the family’s house; their rice fields were confiscated, and they were expelled from the district. In Son La province, four more Christian families were similarly threatened in March. One couple were attacked in their home; they were kicked and punched, and the wife was dragged out of the house by her hair. Give thanks for these families’ courageous stand for Christ and pray that they will find strength in Him. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Jul 2014 00:00

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