Cairo – Recent attacks against Coptic churches in Merinab (Aswan) and Elmadmar (Sohag) are part of a strategy promoted by Saudi Arabia to use its petrodollars to bring the country under a radical Islamic regime, sources in Cairo.The latter are fearful of a mass exodus by Egypt’s minority Christians.
On Sunday in Merinab (Aswan, Upper Egypt), more than 3,000 Muslims, incited by their local imam, set fire to the local Coptic church after they accused Christians of building it without a permit.
On Monday, a group of Muslims in Elmadmar, (Sohag province, Upper Egypt) tried to tear down Saint Mary Church, but were repulsed by police sent to rescue the Christian community. However, none of the attackers were arrested.
Today, about 500 Christians demonstrated in front of the Governatorate building in Bani Suef (Aswan) demanding the reconstruction of the church of Merinab and the governor’s resignation.
Sources say Egypt’s military is powerless against attacks by Salafis who use money and promises to turn people in the poorest regions of the country against Christians.
The extremist group is spreading across the Middle East, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Tunisia, Iraq, and Lebanon.
Salafis are taking advantage of the region’s instability to get caretaker governments to impose their ideology based on Sharia and Islam’s supremacy on other religions.
According to a recent report cited by the Assyrian News Agency (Aina), about 100,000 Christians have already left the country since Mubarak’s fall.
“The figure is an exaggeration,” sources told, “but many Copts are indeed leaving the country. In Upper Egypt, but also Cairo and Alexandria, many parish churches lay empty. People are afraid and believe that if the Muslim Brotherhood wins, there will be no place for Christians in the country.”