The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

The Nag Hammadi massacre

I should be on al-Jazeera English around 1pm GMT to talk about the attack on a church in Nag Hammadi, in Upper Egypt, which claimed six lives. The attack was retaliation on the Coptic community after a Copt (from a different area) raped a young Muslim girl in November. It appears to have been led by a man who had publicly sworn to take revenge against the local bishop (who had nothing to do with the rape), but had not been arrested by security (the bishop says he was protected by local ruling party figures). The Coptic community in Nag Hammadi is now protesting lax security and the hostility they've felt since the rape.

I recommend keeping up with al-Masri al-Youm which has some excellent reporting from the scene:

Shadow of violence, displacement looms over Christian holidays in Upper Egypt - background to the recent attack.

Copts in wrath following Egypt’s bloodiest Christmas - on the attack, subsequent riots and the security response.

A different sense of belonging - on Copts' isolation from politics and retreat into the church since Sadat.

Update: See also:

Egypt police close in on Christmas murder suspects - AP.

Egyptian Christians riot after fatal shooting - The Guardian.

✩ Also worth keeping an eye on Copts United, although take their info with a grain of salt.

✩ Follow al-Masry al-Youm English journalist Pakinam Amer on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates. Here is Pakinam's latest story.