• Copts
  • January 19, 2010
  • 4 minutes read

Egypt: Coptic man accused of rape has trial postponed

Egypt: Coptic man accused of rape has trial postponed

 CAIRO: An Egyptian Coptic Christian man accused of kidnapping and raping a 12-year-old Muslim girl had his trial adjourned until next month, the official MENA news agency reported on Tuesday. The alleged assault in Qena led to widespread protests by the Muslim community and increased tensions between the two religious groups, which culminated in the murder of 6 Copts and one Muslim security guard at a church on January 6.


The 21-year-old Girgis Baroumi Girgis, is accused of having raped 12-year-old Yossra Mohamed in the southern village of Farshut in November, near Qena.

Security personnel have argued that the rape prompted what they have called the “revenge attack” by the Muslim gunmen on the church as Christians were leaving a Christmas Eve mass in Nag Hammadi.

When news of the alleged attack made its rounds in the area, hundreds of Muslims took to the streets, burning Christian-owned shops and attacking a local police station where Girgis was believed to be held. The riots forced the government to bring in dozens of police trucks in an effort to quell the tensions.

The attack revealed Egypt’s chasm between the two main religious groups. Muslims demanded justice for the attack, while Copts argued it was simply the act of a deranged man who did not represent the Coptic community in Egypt.

Roughly 10 percent of Egypt’s 80-million-strong population are Coptic Christians, who complain of discrimination and marginalisation.

George Ishaq, a leading Kefaya member and Coptic scholar, said that both Muslim and Coptic leaders must address issues of citizenship in order for sectarian issues to be relieved. He said that Egyptians must “act like Egyptians.”

They must “come together and unite against the common enemy that continues to oppress all people, regardless of their faith,” he said.