Christian Living


‘Gangs’ Seize and Tax Coptic Christian Property in Egypt

The plight of Egypt’s Christian Copts, especially in Upper Egypt, continues unabated. According to a new Arabic report, during the last few days in Asyut, “criminal groups and gangs managed to acquire guns and weapons and, as usual, have attacked and abused the Christians to control their sources of income, including to finance their [the “gangsters”] activities. They forced Copts to pay large amounts of money as tax [jizya] in order not to steal and/or plunder their lands.

The El Fagr report points out that no one has done a thing to oppose these gangs: “they simply kill Christians and their families as happened in the village of Shameiya when two Copts refused to pay the tax: the gang killed them and this was repeated in many other villages belonging to the governorate of Asyut. It is becoming so normal now to watch as these crimes against Christians occur day by day and nothing is done.”

According to Hanna Grees Sorial, who has owned a piece of land for over 25 years now, with all the proper documents, members of these gangs recently seized his property and even built a fence around it, telling Sorial that he had to pay 100,000 Egyptian pounds (approximately $16,700 USD) if he wanted his land back.

Amazingly, the piece of land in question is just a few meters away from the police station. And Sorial did report the men, who were arrested only to be released quickly, as often happens in Muslim majority nations whenever Christians register a grievance.

Most recently, and by way of retaliation, the gang called him saying that, since he went to police, they are now demanding 800,000 Egyptian pounds to return his land; they also threatened to kill him and his family if he tried to report on them again.

In the words of Sorial: “the gangs abuse Christians because we are a peaceful minority; we hate violence and they use that against us, seizing our money to buy weapons and to finance their atrocities against the poor and innocent ones.”

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