Coptic Priest Flees Islamic Lynch Mob As Muslims Loot Church
Father Ayoub Youssef said Muslim neighbours helped him escape during the attack on his church. (BBC)
On 6 July, a priest was shot dead by gunmen in an outdoor market in northern Sinai.
Five days later, the body of a beheaded Christian man was found in the same area, where Islamist militants have launched a string of attacks on security and military posts since Mr Morsi’s overthrow.
Arson attacks on Christian houses and shops have also been reported in remote southern villages, where Islamist hardliners hold sway.
The violence included a church in Dalga, 350km (220 miles) south of Cairo.
We visited the site and found a burned-out shell, ransacked and blackened by fire.
The church’s priest, Father Ayoub Youssef, told us what happened the night Mr Morsi was removed from power.
“They were many people, about 500,” he said.
“They stormed the church chanting slogans accusing Christians of campaigning against Morsi like ‘Shame on you Christians! You traitors conspired against the president. You are doomed!’
“They looted everything – benches, ceiling fans, windows and even toilets. They smashed a statue of the Virgin Mary, before setting the whole building on fire.”
Father Ayoub was grateful to Muslim neighbours for saving his life.
“They helped me escape from the roof to their house. Had it not been for them, I would have been lynched,” he said.