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Islamic extremists reportedly attacking Egypt's Christian community over Morsi ouster

 

The Muslim Brotherhood reportedly is attempting to blame Egypt’s Coptic Christian community for the recent ousting of President Mohammed Morsi and even resorting to violent tactics in an effort to gain back power.

Reports have surfaced out of Egypt that sectarian attacks against Copts by Islamic extremists are on the rise since Morsi was ousted July 3. Copts, who make up about 9% of Egypt's population, have said they consistently have been targeted by Islamic radicals for campaigning against the Muslim Brotherhood-backed president.

“The Muslim Brotherhood’s regime caused a split in Egyptian unity on the basis of religious affiliations,” Nabil Abdel Fattah, political analyst and researcher for the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies said in a recent interview with Mid-East Christian news.

"The Muslim Brotherhood's allegation that Coptic Christians in Egypt are in some way responsible for the coup that ousted former President Morsi reeks of ignorance and sectarian intolerance.”

- Jordan Sekulow, American Center for Law and Justice

“The sectarian attacks against Copts are one of the controversial strategies pursued by Islamic extremist currents in their bid to intimidate Christians,” he added. “Whether it is out of revenge for participating in the political process or as a result of the radical ideologies these groups have, [they are] creating a state of anarchy and insecurity across the Egyptian streets, turning current issues into a sectarian conflict to mobilize neutral citizens against their fellow countrymen.”

Nine Christians have been killed throughout the country, including one priest in the Sinai Peninsula, according a report in the Financial Times. The fatal shooting of priest Mina Aboud Sharween  has led many other Coptic clergy to go into hiding.

Magdy Lamei, a Christian salesman, was found murdered on July 4, also in the Sinai, days after he was kidnapped and held for a ransom equivalent to $70,000.

Presumed Islamist militants have launched attacks against security forces in the region since June 30, according to the newspaper. However, reports of acts of violence against Copts have surfaced ever since Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood took power last year.

In addition, over a dozen Christian churches were attacked and damaged and Coptic-owned businesses have been victims of vandalism.

In the city of Luxor, four people were killed recently and three others injured, along with the  demolition of at least 23 Copt-owned homes.

Coptic leaders have reported that at least 200,000 Christians have fled the country since February 2011.

"The Muslim Brotherhood's allegation that Coptic Christians in Egypt are in some way responsible for the coup that ousted former President Morsi reeks of ignorance and sectarian intolerance,” Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of Washington, D.C.-based American Center for Law and Justice, told FoxNews.com.

“Such a claim attempts to divide Egyptians on religious lines and turn the delicate stability into a sectarian conflict.  Such a claim is not only factually inaccurate, but not even possible. One religious minority simply does not overthrow an Islamic government in a predominantly Muslim country.”

Sekulow adds that the Muslim Brotherhood does not does want to admit that it was Muslims--who comprise a majority of the population in Egypt—who led efforts to oust Morsi.

“Certainly like many of their fellow countrymen, Coptic Christians raised their voice in response to the failed rule of Mohammed Morsi,” he said.  “These voices echoed throughout the public square because Morsi's leadership under the Muslim Brotherhood failed to recognize equally all Egyptians regardless of their religious affiliation.”