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November 2, 2009

Egyptian Christians Fear More Muslim Violence

November 1, 2009
By Mary Abdelmassih
Assyrian International News Agency

Egypt (AINA) -- Egyptian security forces have intensified their presence in the Upper Egyptian town of Dairout, in anticipation of a recurrence of Muslim violence against Christians. Copts expressed their fear over leaflets entitled "These have to Die!" which are being distributed to all Muslims in Dairout and neighborhoods, enticing them to "burn, vandalize and clean the country of these evil immoral infidels."

Reports from Dairout, 313 km south of Cairo, confirm that Christian Copts are afraid to leave their homes and have stayed indoors since violence against them erupted on October 24, 2009. This collective punishment of Copts was caused by an illicit sexual relationship between a Muslim girl, Hagger Hassouna, and the Christian Romany Farouk Attallah. It was rumored that he sent videos of them intimately together to cell phones in Dairout before fleeing. This prompted the Hassouna family to kill his father, Farouk Attallah, on October 19, 2009, in revenge. Four of the Hassouna killers were detained by prosecution, leading to Muslim riots against the Copts (AINA 10-27-2009) .

According to Wagih Yacoub of the Middle East Christian Assosiation (MECA), Muslim-owned businesses are now displaying stickers with 'Allah Akbar' (Allah is Great) to differentiate between them and Coptic-owned businesses, as a form of pre-planning for a forthcoming wave of Muslim violence.

Handwritten leaflets (Arabic) have been circulated among Muslims in Dairout for the last two days; they call on Muslims to unite to take revenge for their religion and honor, claiming that Hagger Hassouna is innocent and that she was forced into vice, and "all Jews and Christians should come to learn that Muslim honor is precious." The fliers state that Muslims are the masters of the world since beginning of times until the present day, and entices them to "burn and vandalize and clean the country of the evil immoral infidels."

It also calls on Muslims to take revenge for the "rings of prostitution" which are the churches and in particular the church in the village of Ezbet Hanna. Those specifically named to be killed are Reverend Pavlos of the Church of the Virgin Mary, Coptic lawyer Gamal Youssef, two brothers who own an optometry practice, and a Copt who owns a beauty saloon and photography shop.

Muslims are asked to die for their honor and they will be rewarded with eternal paradise. "Do not say it is a matter of just a girl, no, it is a public and a serious issue, it is the biggest issue, it is Islam's issue." A transcript of the the leaflet (in Arabic) is published on Copts United website.

A video that surfaced yesterday entitled "Revenge for Honor," showing a half-naked girl, assumed to be a Copt, is being distributed all over Dairout on cell phones. Ezzat Aziz of Copts United reported on the contents of the video of the assumed Coptic girl by saying "Details of the video shows the fear experienced by the girl as four Muslim men were undressing her." According to Aziz the video seemed to have been shot in a secluded house and the girl was threatened to get undressed and was begging her captors to let her go as she was tired. She was half-naked, but refused to take off the rest of her clothes. The men repeatedly asked her if she "knew the Dairout Girl."

Comparing the videos, Aziz said that the first (of Hagger Hassouna) shows "a girl who knew what she was doing" while the second (of the assumed Coptic girl) was of "a girl forced to undress." Aziz did not say whether the Coptic girl was named in the video, but he mentioned that the four men forcing her to undress proudly gave their full names.

Coptic websites have refused to publish the video of Hagger Hassouna, saying it would be incompatible with Christian ethics.

On Saturday, October, 31 the four Muslims accused of killing Farouk Attallah are expected appear in court again. A repeat of the Muslim mob violence which took place on October 24 is anticipated should prosecution extend their detainment once again.