One year after the bombing outside Two Saints Church in Alexandria that killed more than twenty worshippers, “the facts regarding those responsible for committing this horrible crime are no clearer,” Asia News reports.
Egypt (Asia News) – One year has passed since the terrible massacre in the Church of the Two Saints, in Alexandria on New Year’s eve last year, which left more than twenty dead and a hundred wounded. One year later the facts regarding those responsible for committing this horrible crime are no clearer. There have been rumours which assert that it was the ministry of internal affairs who ordered the attack, but no investigation results have so far been published. Yesterday, the last Friday of the year, the protestant church called for a peaceful demonstration in Tahrir square to commemorate this anniversary, asking people to come with armed only with candles and no other religious symbol. A large demonstration led by Shaykh Mazhar Shaheen processed from Omar Makram mosque in Midan al Tahrir up to the Evangelical Church of Qasr al Doubara, one street behind Midan al Tahrir to celebrate the Chrismas and New Year’eve feasts.
Three weeks after last New Year’s eve attack the January 25 revolution exploded, and since then many difficult events have succeeded each other making it a hard time for the population, and mainly for Egyptian Christians. In fact, the Alexandria massacre took place less than a year after the violent attack at Nag Hammadi, in Upper Egypt on the eve of the Coptic Christmas celebrations, on the 7th of January 2010, which left seven dead and many wounded. And less than two months after clashes over a church construction in the suburb of Giza, next to Cairo, that left two dead and many wounded.
Early in March 2011, the Church of the Two Martyrs in Sol, next to Helwan, in the southern suburb of Cairo, was set on fire killing two people died. The motive for the arson attack was a forbidden love affaire between a Christian young man and a Muslim girl. The two fathers died in a quarrel, then the Muslim population burned the church. The Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) decided to rebuild the church which was ready for Easter one month later.
During March the awful virginity test was imposed on young women arrested by the authorities.
On Saturday, March 7, two churches in Imbaba, in a western suburb of Cairo, were attacked by fundamentalist mobs, with the result of a dozen Christians killed and the burning of the two churches. This suburb had once been termed ‘the Islamic Republic of Imbaba’.
In June 2011 a long awaited draft bill on building permits for places of worship both for Islam and Christianity was brought before parliament. But still today, this law has not been implemented.
On June 29, a vast confrontation between demonstrators and police forces left more than one thousand wounded. Again, on July 23, another confrontation resulted in more than two hundred wounded.
On September 30th, a church in Marinab village, in Asswan governorate was raised by Muslim fundamentalists who had decided to eradicate the village church by first pretending it was a new construction, than demanding it remove its crosses and the domes and finally burning the church, and many households belonging to the Christian population, without any protection from the civil authorities, rather, on the contrary with the obvious blessing of Asswan governor.
On Sunday October 9, a Christian demonstration began in Cairo to demand equal rights for Christians and justice for the Marinab village church. Numerous Muslim demonstrators were joined their Christian compatriots. What took place was a veritable slaughter which has now become known as the ‘Maspero massacre’ : The army attacked demonstrators resulting in 25 people dead and 350 wounded, many of them crushed under the wheels of advancing armoured vehicles. The state television located on Maspero Avenue launched an appeal that verged on a call to civil war appealing to the population to come and protect the armed forces ‘savagely attacked by Christian demonstrators’. Three soldiers were reported dead, but in the end revealed to be only lightly wounded.
On October 10, the culprit of Nag Hamadi attack of January 7, 2010, who had been sentenced to death, was executed.
Then came the protests of Mohammad Mahmoud Street on November… and later in mid December, the demonstrations and sit-in around the Parliament and the Ministers Council buildings… with a heavy toll of dead and wounded.
In just one year, more than one thousand people have died, thousands of more wounded, an estimated one thousand two hundred people lost one or both eyes, and probably twelve thousand demonstrators were arrested and judged by military courts. Many political personalities and well-known journalists have also been summoned and mistreated.
It is reported that since last March, one hundred thousand Christian Egyptians have left the country emigrating to different destinations. Many people among the Christian community, and among the poorest of them, would now like to apply for religious asylum in countries like the USA, Canada, or Australia.