A group of Muslims in the village of El Oula, in Egypt’s Alexandria governorate, hurled stones at the local church and attacked four Christian homes on 20 September in an angry display of revenge after police attempted to return stolen land to its rightful Christian owner.
Land was stolen from Hamdy Makanouti, a Christian man, in 2012, by a Muslim man, El Houty. The court agreed, and ordered police to return it to the legitimate owner. But when police officers arrived to execute the order, they were attacked and fled.
“After the security forces fled,” said church leader Boktor Nashed, “a large crowd surrounded [the] church and hurled stones at it. Then they attacked four homes owned by Christians.” At least two Christians were seriously injured, one whose spine was fractured.
Police had already attempted to restore the land to its rightful owner in 2014, but El Houty responded violently.
“The El Houty family used microphones in the local mosque and in nearby villages to call out for the Muslims from everywhere around the village saying that the police have come to take the lands and give it to the Christians,” said Hamdy Makanouti’s nephew, Zarif.
Fearing further violence, many Christian families have fled the village, said church leader Bokor Nashed.