Egypt: 4000 Muslims attack Coptic homes, burn church

St. Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us.

Assyrian International News Agency

(AINA) — A mob of nearly four thousand Muslims has attacked Coptic homes this evening in the village of Soul, Atfif in Helwan Governorate, 30 kilometers from Cairo, and torched the Church of St. Mina and St. George. There are conflicting reports about the whereabouts of the Church pastor Father Yosha and three deacons who were at church; some say they died in the fire and some say they are being held captive by the Muslims inside the church.

Witnesses report the mob prevented the fire brigade from entering the village. The army, which has been stationed for the last two days in the village of Bromil, 7 kilometers from Soul, initially refused to go into Soul, according to the officer in charge. When the army finally sent three tanks to the village, Muslim elders sent them away, saying that everything was “in order now.”

A curfew has been imposed on the 12,000 Christians in the village.

This incident was triggered by a relationship between 40-year-old Copt Ashraf Iskander and a Muslim woman. Yesterday a “reconciliation” meeting was arranged between the relevant Coptic and Muslim families and together with the Muslim elders it was decided that Ashraf Iskander would have to leave the village because Muslims torched his house.

The father of the Muslim woman was killed by his cousin because he did not kill his daughter to preserve the family’s honor, which led the woman’s brother to avenge the death of his father by killing the cousin. The village Muslims blamed the Christians.

The Muslim mob attacked the church, exploding 5-6 gas cylinders inside the church, pulled down the cross and the domes and burnt everything inside. Activist Ramy Kamel of Katibatibia Coptic advocacy called US-based Coptic Hope Sat TV and sent an SOS on behalf of the Copts in Soul village, as they are presently being attacked by the mob. He also said that no one is able to contact the priest and the deacons inside the burning church and there is no answer from their mobile phones.

Coptic activist Wagih Yacoub reported the mob has broken into Coptic homes and has called on Copts to leave the village. “Terrorized Copts have fled and some hid in homes of Muslim neighbors,” he added.

Witnesses said the mob chanted “Allahu Akbar” and vowed to conduct their morning prayers on the church plot after razing it.

By Mary Abdelmassih

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  1. Thomas S says:

    When can we dispense with the pretense of calling people like this “Islamists” or “Radical Muslims,” and just call them Muslims?

    Unfortunately, the only peaceful, moderate Muslim is a “bad” Muslim.

    And God help us as all the little dictators in the Middle East fall. All we need filling the void is some new Suleiman uniting the entire region.

  2. templariidvm says:

    This is why the concept “democracy” in that country is dangerous – freedom for me to do whatever I want but not for someone with whom disagree. They are too socially immature.

  3. Animadversor says:

    “Terrorized Copts have fled and some hid in homes of Muslim neighbors,” he added.

    God reward those Muslims for their courage, for surely they are placing themselves in danger for offering a hiding place. St Nicholas Owen pray for them!

  4. pberginjr says:

    I don’t want to ruffle any feathers, but maybe a “new Suleiman” would convince the West of the serious problem that true Islam presents the West.
    Regarding “social immaturity” I’m not even sure that the Western democracies are “socially mature” enough for democracy. Jefferson feared “democracy” in America always desiring that it remain the republic which had been established.

  5. Haven’t they ever heard of “an eye for an eye”? How utterly lopsided is this!?

    On the one hand: a 40-year-old Christian has a relationship with a Muslim woman.

    On the other hand: the Christian has to leave the village because Muslims torched his house, and the Christian is blamed for the death of the woman’s father and cousin (killed by the woman’s cousin and brother, respectively), and Muslims attack the church.

    If the Muslims really wanted to get back at Ashraf, one of them could have taken his sister out for a nice steak dinner, and then never called her again.

  6. Supertradmum says:

    These Muslims are merely obeying sharia law as stated in the Koran and the hadith. They are showing themselves to be “good Muslims”. And, the Western democracies respond how? Since the turmoil in Egypt has turned against Copts, about three weeks ago, nothing has been said from our so-called leaders. Only the Pope and David Cameron have made statements.

  7. JKnott says:

    Good points Thomas S.
    I am currently reading “Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World” by Roger Crowley
    The names and the “galleys” have changed, but the game is the same.
    Too bad it is not required reading for every man, woman and child today.
    But alas, the world loves ……..Harry Potter!……for educating the youth.

  8. anilwang says:

    Thomas S, the Quran is terribly consistent…sometimes requiring protection for “People of the Book” and sometimes condemning them. It was written over Muhammad’s life, so it’s up and down depending on his relations to Jews. Quran doesn’t give enough to live by so you have to supplement it with the Bible….But since the Quran say that the Bible was corrupted in “The Great Apostasy”, that’s not enough to live by, so you have to also rely on your Mullah and whatever tradition he ascribes to. Essentially, Muslims can justify any belief they want to believe, from peace to war, from near pantheism to tyrannical monotheism, from secular to strict sharia. In the strictest sense, there is no such thing as a “True Muslim” any more than there is a “True Protestant” since there is such a diversity of beliefs and no ultimate authority to choose between them.

  9. Ceile De says:

    I just got back from Egypt where I had my fair share of run ins with the police and military. It is very clear that Christians there are in danger: the press for some reason refuses to give proper coverage to Cardinal Naguib’s assertion of interior ministry involvement in the Coptic Christmas massacre (something confirmed by diplomatic and military sources in Cairo to me).
    On the other hand, while defending our Christian faith and brothers and sisters, we cannot simply demonise all Muslims. Most have great reverence for Mary; quite a few have a devotion to St Joseph, and some even to St Therese of Lisieux. We must follow His Holiness’s example of trying to engage them and getting them to engage in both faith and reason.

  10. Supertradmum says:

    Ceile De,

    One does not demonize an individual person by rationally defining the religion as based on violence and a man-made, so-called revelation which even some of Mohamed’s peers stated was from Satan. The fact that some Muslims revere Mary as a person has nothing to do with the Incarnation, which they deny, both in the Koran and in their tradition. That we should engage those who are open to do so in rational discussions is true, but even the Pope had an entire delegation walk out on his efforts last year.

    The truth is partially that the Islamic faith is anti-intellectual, based on falsehoods which cannot bear the light of rational discourse. Those who disagree with the main tenants, including hatred of the Jews and intolerance of Christianity, are very few, and considered apostates. Devotion to the saints does not change the core beliefs.


    Those secular Muslims I have met in academia refuse, absolutely refuse, to condemn their brother and sister Muslims who advocate violence. The reason for this is that they know it is part, from the very beginnings, of the religion of Mohamed, and they cannot refute either the Koran or the hadith. A good Muslim is one who holds that the Koran is the word of God and who abides by sharia law. The secularists among the Islamists keep a low profile, as they know they are despised by their own. You cannot compare Islam with Protestantism. Indeed, there are sects, such as the Sunnis and Shites, the Sufis, the Nation of Islam and all the others, but they all revere and believe in the literal text of the Koran. They all agree on the hatred of the Jews and on the need to have a global Islamic nation under Allah, where Christians are reduced to slaves and fines, as they were in such areas throughout history.

  11. disco says:

    Time for the tenth crusade

  12. Warren says:

    Then: Pope Pius XII.
    Now: Pope Benedict XVI.

    Then: NYTimes reports: “The voice of Pius XII is a lonely voice in the silence and darkness enveloping Europe this Christmas…He is about the only ruler left on the Continent of Europe who dares to raise his voice at all.” Editorial, The New York Times, December 25, 1941.
    Now: January 2, 2011 – remarks at the end of the Angelus: Pope Benedict draws attention to Christians routinely and widely persecuted around the world. In particular, the Pope condemns attacks against Chaldean and Coptic christians. Reported by Reuters, USA Today, etc.

    Then: the world turns a blind eye to the growing threat posed by the Fascists. Jews are sent to concentration camps; Catholic priests and religious are imprisoned and murdered.
    Now: the world slumbers while muslim fanatics bomb churches, rape and murder innocent women and children. Christians are imprisoned; Catholic politician is assassinated; christian villages are burned; clergy are imprisoned, tortured and disappeared (China).

    Then: the Gestapo.
    Now: the Mutaween.

    Plus ça change; plus c’est la même chose. Or, will the world listen and meet the looming threat posed by militant Islam?

    Don’t hold your breath.

  13. MarkJ says:

    In the first 10 years of the 2nd millenium AD, Muslims destroyed 30,000 churches in Turkey. Down through the centuries they have spread their religion by conquest and by the sword, and they have almost succeeded in destroying Christianity altogether in the Middle East and northern Africa. Looks like they aim to finish the job through the revolutions sweeping the region. And if anyone thinks they don’t have Europe and the US as their next targets, they are blind to what’s really happening. It’s time to wake up, Catholics… and take a courageous stand for the Faith.

  14. James Joseph says:

    Here’s a whole slew of first-hand videos from a Coptic monastery that was shot up by the Egyptian army a week or two ago…. still hasn’t hit the news agencies…. happens all the time… continues to happen. From what I have understood: The attack was in response to a fence being built… It is illegal to build and repair non-Muslim buildings… 21 dead.


  15. digdigby says:

    Ceile De-

    I have had it with the idea that Muslims ‘respect’ Jesus or Mary or the Patriarchs. The Muslim “Jesus” is NOT Jesus Christ – he is a trickster, a liar who ‘switched bodies on the cross’, who was not divine and I could go on. The Aryan Nations Racist Church also ‘respects’ Jesus and objectively speaking, their distortion they call “Jesus” is not nearly as racist and radical as Muslims! So we should respect Aryan Nations because of this? What a crock of….! Islam IS an openly and relentlessly declared war on Christianity with NO quarter given except utter debasement or death. On the other hand, Mother Mary loves the Muslims. I think SHE will bring them to her Son and if we are lucky, converted Muslims will save the decaying so-called ‘post-Christian’ West. Won’t that be a lesson in humility! Muslims make the best Christians!

  16. passiderae says:

    Kyrie eleison.

  17. teaguytom says:

    Non Muslims fearing Muslims was a discussion topic in my college Human Geography class. Its normal for my professor to turn every discussion into a progressive talking point. Whereas most of the class towed the “Islam is peace”spittle, I made sure I mention Catholicism’s historical struggle against them. Some guy through some bone about them hating us because of the crusades. BAH! What about their numerous attempts to take Austria/Hungary and Romania? How they took North Africa? You are forcibly converted to their religion. It isn’t an opinion, its fact! The professor wasn’t happy with the answer, but he had to accept my response as good work because it was factual and could not be denied. He pulled the usual “No religion’s are perfect” line, but he is liberal. The liberals think all religions are equals. Catholicism is the Truth and we can’t let the false Islam kill of Christianity and the elder ancestor, Judaism. Its time for the media to start reporting these killings and the leaders of the world condemning them, not just the Holy Father.

  18. Fr. Basil says:

    Celia De:

    Mahometans venerate an entity they CALL “Mariam,” but she is not the real Most Holy Theotokos, because they do not believe that her son is God Incarnate.

  19. Andreas says:

    I have searched everywhere and, aside from the original posting, have not seen this incident reported by any organs of the world press outside of the one to which the story was attributed. If this incident did indeed take place, where is the international coverage?

  20. lizzy17 says:

    Father, what if anything can we do? Do you know of any where we could send donations to help Christians in Egypt? Aid to the Church in need doesn’t seem to have a specific project there. What if anything would you suggest, aside from prayer and fasting?

  21. Traductora says:

    Heck, I’d be happy if we’d even pray for these Egyptian Christians in our churches here. It’s one thing for the secular press to ignore or underreport this. The AP report made it sound like a tiff between families, although it did include the great line, “After the funeral… a group of Muslims headed to the village church and set it on fire.” Sounds like normal after-funeral behavior. I mean, who doesn’t go down and set fire to the local church?

    But it’s quite another thing for fellow Christians to ignore it. The Church here is determined not to admit the threat posed by Islam and not to admit that it is facing a vicious, ruthless false religion that must be opposed intellectually and spiritually at all times, and even physically in places where it attacks. Catholics are just supposed to put on their “Coexist” bumper stickers and all will be well.

  22. Supertradmum says:


    I suggest you subscribe to JihadWatch. These type of things happen all the time. Also, the BBC is better on this than our own American media, which is totally prejudiced. As you probably saw yesterday, a Fox commentator was asked to step down for telling the truth about Muslim violence.

    Here are three more references. I found at least seven different news site references to this event.

  23. Liz says:

    I didn’t see it either. I admit though that I am not up on the news. (I wonder how few people know what is really going on.) Thank you , Father, for letting us know. I read this to some of it to my older kids and husband. We will pray for it all in our family rosary and mass today (along with toddler Joey and his family, Baby Joseph in Canada and so many other things.) I am so upset about that priest and those deacons. Does anyone know if they did die?

  24. Liz says:

    p.s. Does anyone know how to pronounce Nunilo? NU-nilo? Nun-ilo?

  25. NU-ni-LO. (Spanish speakers tend to turn it into Nunilón, mostly to be sure that they read it as a girl’s name — but I think also for pronunciation reasons, because a normal Spanish name spelled Nunilo would be pronounced nu-NEE-lo. Same reason there’s an accent mark on the first A in Ávila – otherwise you’d pronounce it ah-VEE-la.)

  26. jesusthroughmary says:

    The Religion of Peace strikes again.

  27. May God have mercy upon the priest, deacons and all the faithful in Egypt. Sadly I had a stong feeling from the beginning the “honeymoon” there was not real but very contrived in order to make the Muslims there look good and to obtain backing.

    Until men in the Western world are taught to be masculine (not the current understanding of behaving as a boor), intelligent and to love what is good and true Islam will have the upper hand in the world. Their men are not in doubt about what they want and believe. It is obvious they hate Christians (not to mention any other type of “infidels”). We have a good reason for another Crusade with all these murders of Christians and desecrations by the Muslims over all these years. No wonder they all keep trying to hide them from us. Those who committed atrocities during the early Crusades which the Muslims claim to cry about broke Christain code. The Muslims who murdered and raped by the thousands in the beginning and apparently still obey their code and the Koran perfectly. Hopefully those on any future Crusades won’t behave like Muslims.

    For all the claims otherwise our God is very different from theirs. Just because they are not polytheists doesn’t make it the same God. The nature of their god is very different as is evidenced by their jihad to take over the whole world. Don’t be fooled that is exactly what they aim to do and those Muslims who lie otherwise are just following a Islamic teaching that it is virtuous to lie in order to spread Islam. I wish those who claim otherwise would study what Islam actually teaches in its entirety. The only decent Muslim is an unfaithful Muslim who follows natural law (which Islam contradicts in a number of areas).
    St Louis IX pray for us.

  28. AnAmericanMother says:


    I am pleased to report that not only did we pray for the Coptic Christians specifically today at Mass (and also after the first outrage was reported), in addition the first hymn was “Aurelia” – usually used for “The Church’s One Foundation” – but with the words composed by Timothy T’ing-Fang Liu:

    Where tyrants’ hold is tightened, where strong devour the weak,
    Where innocents are frightened, the righteous fear to speak,
    There let your church awaking attack the powers of sin
    And, all their ramparts breaking, with you the victory win.

    It’s a first step. I hope by the time the West at large wakes up and realizes what is going to have to be done, it’s not too late.

  29. Supertradmum says:

    In 2002, when I was teaching high school at an advanced private, Catholic school, I asked my class, as I was teaching a course on Islam, how may would fight a new crusade if necessary. The vast majority of the class said they would not. This was after studying Lepanto. I asked how many of the young men would defend their families against persecution, only one said he would. We have a created an odd pacifism in the Church with regards to either defense, or standing up for what is good and true. These were privileged kids. It is up to fathers to pass on this type of understanding of spiritual and sometimes, physical, warfare. We are, after all, the Church Militant.

  30. Jenny bag of donuts says:

    Yes. We have created a society where much respect and honor is lost in the culture’s consciousness. Young people think it’s nothing to curse in front of the elderly and so forth. Men do not normally show extra care and respect toward women or have much sense of protecting them. One even finds this loss of respect among clergy in the confessional when they speak bluntly and harshly to women, not showing more sensitivity. What a strange world we live in.

  31. rakesvines says:

    Thanks for posting this Fr. Z. I have not heard of it from the MSM. I reposted the report here or I am shocked at the lack of attention given to this considering the vile and savage nature of the event done in the name of a cult that has long tormented the West. It almost seems that the government is in on it. And there is 100 times more coverage on the Tea Party who had nothing to do with the AZ shooting than on Islam that has everything to do with this oppression and murderous rage. The US is muted on its stance for the human rights of the Copts is simply mesmerizing and incredible, not unless of course it is all part of the plan to hand the Christians to the Muslims, whose lives mean little anyways as they are infidels in the sight of the Muslims.

  32. wardwill says:

    Here is the ap story I read this morning, sheesh…

  33. DHippolito says:

    We have a created an odd pacifism in the Church with regards to either defense, or standing up for what is good and true.

    And it’s this odd pacifism that venerates Dorothy Day, immerses itself in moral equivalence…and denies centuries of Catholic teaching on capital punishment to promote “a consistent ethic of life.”

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