Several Christians have been killed in Egypt in the last week, in the wake of the military overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi July 2. On July 6 a Coptic Christian priest identified as Father Mina Aboud Sharween was gunned down in the Sinai town of El Arish, near the Gaza border. CBN News reported that Islamic gunmen in an SUV pulled up beside a vehicle driven by the 39-year-old Coptic priest, who was out shopping, and opened fire. Witnesses said that after killing the priest the gunmen dragged him from his vehicle and fled in it.
While it is unclear who exactly was responsible for the assassination, the Muslim Brotherhood, which had backed Morsi's presidency, had harshly criticized Pope Tawadros, spiritual head of Egypt's eight million Coptic Christians, after he expressed his support for the military's removal of Morsi and for the suspension of Egypt's constitution. Morning Star News, which monitors Christian persecution around the world, reported that “in the weeks leading up to the demonstrations against Morsi by millions, Islamists had issued threats against Christians, whom they held responsible for the movement.”
While Sharween was the first Christian leader killed since Morsi's ouster, several other Christians have been killed in upper Egypt since July 2. “A country contact for the Voice for the Martyrs (VOM) reports nine Christians died in violence in the Upper Egyptian village of Al Dabaa, near Luxor,” related CBN News July 8. “Christian homes and shops were looted and burned and at least one church building was destroyed.”
The VOM contact said that Christians had been assaulted in Dalga and Der Mawas villages in Menia city, and at least three churches had been attacked and burned. “The army and the police forces are working so hard to protect Egyptians everywhere in Egypt, especially in the Upper Egypt area,” the VOM contact said.
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Photo of mourners at a funeral for two Coptic Christians killed in Egypt: AP Images