Egypt: Elderly Christian Woman Stripped And Paraded Through Streets By Muslim Mob

Last week, a Muslim mob in Egypt reportedly stripped an elderly Christian woman naked and marched her through the streets in a horrific attack that also included the destruction and torching of seven Christian homes. The attack on the Christian woman took place in an Egyptian province of Minya, south of the nation’s capital.

The local Orthodox Coptic church and Egyptian security officials confirmed that the attack on the elderly Christian woman happened on Friday, May 20, in the village of Karama. The reason for the unbelievable attack on the woman and other local Christians? Rumors that the woman’s Christian son had been romantically involved with a Muslim woman. In Egypt, such religious intermingling is strictly taboo.

Authorities in Egypt have already taken six of the men suspected in the attack into custody, reports The Guardian. A dozen more are being sought for their roles in the attack on the Christian woman, as well as the damage done to the homes of other local Christians. Security officials who provided details on the arrests spoke to the media under the condition of anonymity.

According to Anba Makarios, the top Christian cleric in Minya, the woman was dragged out of her home by the angry mob, and then beaten and insulted by the horde of Muslim men. She was then forcibly stripped and made to walk through the village streets as the men chanted “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is greatest.”

Out of fear and humiliation, the elderly Christian woman waited five days to personally report the assault to police in Egypt, said Makarios. According to the Christian cleric, she told him that she had “found it difficult to swallow” the humiliation she suffered at the hands of the Muslim mob intent on punishing her for what they believed to be her son’s transgressions.

The attack on the Christian woman gained widespread publicity on Wednesday night, and social media was bombarded with people the world over venting their fury at the unconscionable Egypt attack. Many believe that Egypt’s ultra-conservative Salafi Muslims were behind the senseless violence, and the hashtags #Egypt and #EgyptStrippedNaked exploded on Twitter.

Both premarital sex and extramarital affairs are extremely taboo in Egypt among both Muslims and Christians. When instances of either occur, violence is often incited, particularly in rural areas. Disputes about honor often lead to deaths, feuds and social shunning of those involved

In Egypt, Christian men aren’t allowed to marry Muslim women unless they first convert to Islam. However, Muslim men are legally able to marry Christian women, because in Islam, wives have no choice but to submit to the will of their husband. A Christian woman’s son having an affair with a Muslim woman is among the most taboo of all relationships in Egypt, especially since it happened in a rural area. Since the attack, the Muslim woman accused of having the affair with the Christian woman’s son has said no affair took place.

Cleric Makarios said in a statement that local Egyptian police showed up at the scene of the Muslim-on-Christian violence about two hours after the mob attack on the elderly Christian woman began. Reportedly, the family of the Christian man had contacted police the day before the attack, telling them that threats had been made by Muslim villagers.

“No one did anything and the police took no pre-emptive or security measures in anticipation of the attacks. We are not living in a jungle or a tribal society. It’s incorrect for anyone to declare himself judge, police and ruler.”

Christians are in the minority in Egypt, making up only about 10 percent of the population of over 90 million citizens. For decades, Christians in Egypt have complained about discrimination and mistreatment in the largely Muslim country.

Abdel-Fatah el-Sisi, Egyptian president since 2014, has made attempts to rectify some of grievances brought forth by Christians in Egypt. He made changes to election laws that allow more Christians in Egypt’s legislature, as well as allowed for the building of more Christian churches in the nation.

Despite these changes, Christians in Egypt are still routinely targeted and victimized by their Muslim neighbors, and with little recourse.

Attacks on Christians in Egypt include wealthy Christian families having their children kidnapped by Muslim gangs for ransoms and underage Christian girls being kidnapped and forced into conversion by Muslim men, then being hidden away until adulthood.

Egyptian Christians have repeatedly said that police in Egypt do little to protect them and not enough to bring their Muslim harassers to justice.

In the case of the elderly Christian woman who was forced to parade naked through the streets of Egypt, Christian cleric Makarios said that police likely waited with great deliberation before they responded to the situation so that the Muslim perpetrators could have plenty of time to do what they sought out to do. He also said that the likelihood of any kind of adequate justice in the situation is next to nil.

Rather, he believes that the elderly Christian woman and her family will be dealt with in a government-sponsored meeting, where the Christians involved will most likely be forced to accept “humiliating” conditions for reconciliation.

In effect, the elderly Christian woman will have to endure being humiliated twice at the hands of her Muslim neighbors and the hands of Egypt’s largely-Muslim government and law enforcement authorities.

[Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images]