Muslims who attacked and stripped an elderly Christian woman in a southern Egyptian village will be punished, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said Monday. The Muslim mob in Minya province’s Karma village had also torched and looted seven houses of Christian families during the May 20 attack, which was triggered by a rumor that the 70-year-old woman’s son was having a relationship with a Muslim woman.
The elderly woman was paraded on the streets of Karma after being stripped. Sisi said such attacks divide Egyptians.
“We are all one and the law must take its course,” Sisi reportedly said.
Christians comprise 10 percent of the Egyptian population, which is dominated by Muslims. Following the attack, the Coptic Orthodox Church lashed out at the security measures in the country. In a television interview in Minya last Wednesday, senior cleric Anba Makarios said if the situation was reversed — a Muslim man having an affair with a Christian woman — then the reaction “would not have been anything like what happened.”
“No one did anything and the police took no pre-emptive or security measures in anticipation of the attacks,” Makarios said, indicating that police had been warned the day before the attacks, and law enforcement had ample time to react. “We are not living in a jungle or a tribal society. It’s incorrect for anyone to declare himself judge, police and ruler."
Egyptian Christians have long accused the Muslim majority population of discrimination. Since assuming office in 2014, Sisi has amended election laws to allow more Christians into the national legislature and has relaxed restrictions on building churches.