(CNSNews.com) – Eyewitnesses have given a harrowing account of the murder in Cairo of a young Coptic Christian woman, hauled out of her car and beaten and stabbed to death by a Muslim mob, apparently targeted because of a cross hanging from her rear-view mirror.
The incident occurred in the Cairo suburb of Ain Shams after mosque prayer services on Friday, when police clashed with Muslim Brotherhood supporters angered by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s decision to run for president.
An eyewitness appearing on “90 minutes,” a program on the al-Mehwar satellite network, said 25-year-old Mary Sameh George was attacked in her car near a church, where she planned to deliver medicine to an ill and elderly woman.
Protestors climbed onto her car, collapsing the roof, then hauled her from the vehicle, beating and mauling her – to the extent, he said, that portions of her scalp were torn off. She was stabbed multiple times, her throat was slit and when she was dead, the mob torched her car.
One Coptic outlet said that according to the health ministry, the young woman had been stabbed at least a dozen times.
The death of Mary Sameh George received little coverage in Egyptian newspapers.
The state-owned Al Ahram daily, in a report on five people reported killed in various parts of Cairo on Friday among them a journalist who was shot dead, included one sentence saying, “A Coptic woman, Mary George, was reportedly stabbed to death by pro-Morsi supporters in the same area.”
In a report on the death of the journalist, Daily News Egypt mentioned in passing that “Another woman, Coptic Christian Mary Sameh George, was stabbed to death in Ain Shams.”
A wire service report quoted an Interior Ministry spokesman as saying protesters had “stabbed a Christian woman to death,” and blaming the Muslim Brotherhood for Friday’s deaths.
The Australian Coptic Movement Association condemned what it called the “callous, vicious and unprovoked” killing.
“Mary George was targeted for her faith in what is becoming an increasingly intolerable and inhospitable region for Christians; given that Ain Shams is a known stronghold for the Muslim Brotherhood,” it said, appealing to the authorities to ensure that the perpetrators were brought to justice.
“The Egyptian government must send a clear message that this behavior will not be tolerated and that the culprits will be held to account under the full force of the law,” the organization said.
It also urged Western governments “to pay due attention to the extreme and violent agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Egypt’s Copts, comprising less than 10 percent of the population, have faced discrimination and varying levels of persecution since long before the Mubarak was overthrown in 2011. But the subsequent rise to power of Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood was of particular alarm to the vulnerable minority, and many celebrated when the military ousted Morsi last July.
The Coptic community was seen to be supportive of the military takeover, and some Morsi supporters vented their anger on Christians, with many churches coming under Islamist attack in an apparently coordinated campaign.
The military-backed interim government has since cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood, declaring it a terrorist group, putting its leaders on trial, and sentencing hundreds of Morsi supporters to death.
When Sisi, the general was oversaw Morsi’s removal, confirmed last week what many had long suspected – that he plans to run for the presidency in elections scheduled for May, the pro-Morsi alliance known as “National Coalition for Supporting Legitimacy” called for street protests after Friday prayers.
“Let the million-man demonstration on Friday be great and remarkable,” the group said in an announcement on its Facebook page. “Let all those who are angry gather for a new phase which this nation needs.”
In the light of the protests against Sisi’s announcement the U.S. Embassy in Cairo advised American citizens to “closely monitor events and scrutinize their movements closely through the week ending April 6.”
They were warned to pay special attention to places where crowds gather, universities, and areas where protests are occurring, “as firearms have been used by and against protestors.”
“Recent incidents continue to demonstrate that police and military personnel and facilities remain a target, thereby suggesting risk to U.S. citizens may be elevated at checkpoints and in areas where police and military congregate.”