The damaged interior of the Saint Moussa Church is seen a day after it was torched in Minya, south of Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Roger Anis, El Shorouk Newspaper)
As noted here,
Christians became the target of violence and vandalism in Egypt this last week,
with dozens of churches being sacked and torched by Islamist supporters of ousted
president Mohammed Morsi. Today the Associated Press carried this
report from Hamza Hendawi:
After torching a Franciscan school, Islamists
paraded three nuns on the streets like "prisoners of war" before a
Muslim woman offered them refuge. Two other women working at the school were
sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob. …
Sister Manal [the principal
of the Franciscan school in Bani Suef] recalled being told a week earlier by
the policeman father of one pupil that her school was targeted by hard-line
Islamists convinced that it was giving an inappropriate education to Muslim
children. She paid no attention, comfortable in the belief that a school that
had an equal number of Muslim and Christian pupils could not be targeted by
Muslim extremists. She was wrong.
The school has a high-profile
location. It is across the road from the main railway station and adjacent to a
busy bus terminal that in recent weeks attracted a large number of Islamists
headed to Cairo to join the larger of two sit-in camps by Morsi's supporters.
The area of the school is also in one of Bani Suef's main bastions of Islamists
from Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and ultraconservative Salafis.
"We are nuns. We rely on
God and the angels to protect us," she said. "At the end, they
paraded us like prisoners of war and hurled abuse at us as they led us from one
alley to another without telling us where they were taking us," she said.
A Muslim woman who once taught at the school spotted Manal and the two other
nuns as they walked past her home, attracting a crowd of curious onlookers.
"I remembered her, her
name is Saadiyah. She offered to take us in and said she can protect us since
her son-in-law was a policeman. We accepted her offer," she said. Two
Christian women employed by the school, siblings Wardah and Bedour, had to
fight their way out of the mob, while groped, hit and insulted by the
extremists. "I looked at that and it was very nasty," said Manal.
The incident at the
Franciscan school was repeated at Minya where a Catholic school was razed to
the ground by an arson attack and a Christian orphanage was also torched.
"I am terrified and
unable to focus," said Boulos Fahmy, the pastor of a Catholic church a
short distance away from Manal's school. "I am expecting an attack on my
church any time now," he said Saturday.
News has a list
of Christian churches and institutionsincluding schools
and conventsthat have come under attack in Egypt since August 14.