(AINA) - A Muslim mob attacked Copts today in the Upper Egyptian village of Rahmaniya-Kebly, Nag Hammadi, Qena province, destroying and torching their homes, straw huts and shops, while chanting Allahu Akbar. No one was reported killed or injured (video). According to reports, security forces were present but did not intervene and the fire brigade arrived 90 minutes late.
An eye-witness said that a straw hut belonging to a Copt was torched to clear the area for a mosque. There are more than 300 mosques in the village and one church.
According to Coptic residents, the reason behind the violence was the parliamentary elections. The Salafists wanted to prevent Copts, who number more than 50% of the inhabitants (20,000), from voting because they intended to vote for two moderate Muslims and not the Salafi candidates. "No Copt from Rahmaniya-Kebly was able to vote today, so the Salafists will win the elections," said a witness. Copts were forcefully prevented from voting.
US-based WAY TV, which covered live today's Rahmaniya attacks, called commander Osama, head of security at Rahmaniya, who said "everything was OK" -- despite live pictures on TV of the burning homes. Joseph Nasralla of WAY TV spoke to security and made them aware that the videos of the fires were being broadcast in the U.S. and Middle East, which caused the immediate dispatch of security vehicles. By late evening the violence had stopped.
In another incident today, a large number of Salafis and members of the Muslim Brotherhood entered the Abu Makka church, in Bahteem, Shubra-el-Khayma, Qaliubia province, and informed the congregation that the church has no licence and no one should pray in it. One Muslim said the 1300 square meter church would be suitable for a mosque and a hospital.
Bishop Marcus of Shubra el Khayma was scheduled to inaugurate the incomplete church and celebrate the Epiphany mass in the evening. According to Coptic witnesses the Bishop cancelled the festivities, which angered the congregation, who were not informed of the reason. A witness said the Muslim promised to be back tomorrow.