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Christianity under attack as violence sweeps through Egypt

- The Washington Times - Monday, August 19, 2013

Dozens of churches and monasteries have been burned and attacked, a Virgin Mary statue decapitated and several Christians killed in the past few days of unrest in Egypt.

The violence against Christians has been the underbelly to the ongoing public clash between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and interim government and security forces.

The Associated Press reported that dozens of Christian churches have been hit with Molotov cocktails since Wednesday, when government security officials disbanded a couple of high-profile sit-ins staged by Muslim Brotherhood members who are supporting ousted former President Mohammed Morsi.

Israeli newspapers reported about 80 churches and Christian places of worship have been attacked. Sunday Mass was cancelled in the town of Minya for the first time in 1,600 years, the Blaze reported.

Christian businesses and homes in the town are facing similar dire circumstances. One Christian resident told an AP reporter that Islamists "painted a red X on Muslim stores and a black X on Christian stores [and] you can be sure that the ones with a red X are intact" compared to the destroyed facilities marked with black paint.

A video on YouTube shows Minyan men greeting each other with handshakes and smiles while a Christian church burns in the background. And in the same region, Islamists forced three nuns to parade through the streets like "prisoners of war," AP reported.

Two other women at the same school as the nuns were "sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob," AP reported.

Others of Christian faith have been killed, "including a taxi driver who strayed into a protest by Morsi supporters in Alexandria, and another man who was shot to death by Islamists in the southern province of Sohag," a security official who requested anonymity told AP.

A Twitter user described the taxi attack: "Animal! RT @Jahbalon #MB Morsi supporters killed a taxi driver who had a Christian cross on his dashboard #Egypt." Another Twitter poster put up a picture of a Catholic Church at Mallawi, depicting a Virgin Mary statue with the head cut off.

Christian Science Monitor reports that attacks on those of Christian faith aren't likely to subside any time soon. One correspondent for the news outlet wrote from the village of Al Nazla that Islamists have been spreading rumors that Christians were to blame for the county's protests that led to the July 3 coup and ouster of Mr. Morsi.

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