Gunmen attack Coptic Orthodox
church in Benghazi, assault two clergymen
Islamists try to lynch Fr Paul Isaac, an Egyptian Coptic
Orthodox priest, and his assistant. Although the incident occurred on 3
February, it was only reported last night. This is the third attack against the
country's Christian community. The Libyan government condemns the attack,
calling it an attack against Islam.تكبير الصورةتصغير الصورة تم تعديل ابعاد هذه الصورة. انقر هنا لمعاينتها بأبعادها الأصلية.
militiamen attacked Benghazi's Coptic Orthodox Church on 3 February. During the
incident in the capital of Cyrenaica, the gunmen assaulted two clergymen, Fr
Paul Isaac and his assistant, whose name was not released, state-owned Libyan
News Agency (LANA) reported last night.
The foreign ministry said it
"strongly condemned Thursday's attack on the Egyptian church" and expressed
"deep concern" over the attack, saying it was "contrary to the rules" of
Benghazi's Coptic community has not yet made any
public statement on the matter. Speaking to AsiaNews, local Copts said that the
community chose silence fearing more attacks.
In December, an explosion at a building belonging
to a Coptic church in Dafniya, close to the western city of Misratah, killed two
Egyptian men and wounded two others.
In another case of anti-Christian persecution, 48
Egyptian peddlers were arrested in Benghazi last Thursday on suspicion of
proselytising. Eventually, 20 were sent home after Egyptian authorities
Also last month, four foreigners, an Egyptian, a
South African, a Korean and a Swede who was travelling on a US passport, were
arrested in Benghazi on suspicion of being Christian missionaries and printing
books about Christianity. They are now in prison in Tripoli waiting for
With the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, killed in
October 2011, Libya has turned into a hub for radical Muslim groups and militias
from across the Middle East and North Africa.
Catholic religious orders have also been targeted
by Muslim extremists despite operating in the country for decades in hospitals
and nursing homes.
For example, in January Islamists forced the
Ursuline Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus out of the city of Bayda.
In October, the same thing happened to the Sisters
of the Convent of the Sacred Family of Spoleto in Derna who felt they had to
leave the city even though local residents wanted them to