Christian Homes Burned in Egypt After Death of Muslim Man
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(AINA) -- Another incident of a Muslim mob attacking, torching and looting Coptic Christian homes and shops took place today in the village of Meet El-Korashy, Meet Ghamr, after a Muslim young man died following a fight with a Coptic shopkeeper. State Security cordoned off the whole village and placed it under curfew. The Shopkeeper and his family were arrested and charged with murder.

19-year old Mohamad Ramadan Ezzat, student at the Al-Azhar Islamic Institute, returned an empty bottle of soft drink and asked for a refund. When the shopkeeper refused to return the refund money, witnesses say that Ezzat broke the bottle and attacked Emil, who stabbed him in self-defense with the sharp edge of the bottle glass. Ezzat was taken to hospital where he died the following day.

Prosecution arrested the shopkeeper Emile, his two sons and and his wife, who were all charged with murder. Muslim witnesses told newspapers' correspondents that Ezzat broke the bottle to prove that it was his, and did not intend to stab the shopkeeper.

According to the Egyptian newspaper ElYom Elsabe, people in the village, after hearing news of his death, gathered in the village awaiting the arrival of the coffin, which arrived under heavy guard. The funeral was attended by hundreds of people, all wailing and chanting slogans of 'Allah Akbar' and calls for revenge.

When the villagers returned from the burial, they stoned Coptic homes, destroyed walls and set fire to the homes belonging to the Coptic family. The fire brigade arrived hours later because of the crowds, by that time the fire had consumed the Coptic homes.

Some Muslim youth closed the road between the town of Zagazig and Mansoura, and forced trucks on the road to offload the day workers. Police arrested them the Muslim youth and imposed a curfew and closed all roads in and out of the village.

Dr. Naguib Gobraeel, President of the Egyptian Union Human Rights Organization, sent an urgent appeal to the Minister of Interior and Director of State Security in Dakahlia asking for protection for the Coptic inhabitants whose homes are being torched, their shops looted and who are being forced to stay indoors.

By Mary Abdelmassih

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