Friday, January 18, 2013
Egypt police fire tear gas preventing Coptic church attack in Qena.(AO).Security forces have fired tear gas at tens of Muslim protesters who surrounded an Upper Egyptian church on Friday over an alleged sexual assault of a six-year-old Muslim girl by a Coptic man.
Al-Marshada church, which is located in Qena governorate, closed its doors preempting another attack by the angry protesters who marched to the church following Friday's prayers.
The church had already been raided at dawn and a number of shops in the Al-Marshada village were torched by Muslims who claimed that a 45-year-old Coptic shop owner sexually harassed the six year old.
However, a number of the villagers deny the accusations saying that the shop owner has been always friendly to the young girl and treated her as his own child.
Eyewitnesses further added that the false accusations were circulated by girl's neighbours and not by her family.
Bishop Kirollos of Naga Hamadi told Al-Ahram Arabic language news website that the young girl has received a medical checkup and it was proven that she is still a virgin.
Kirollos added that the priests have handed the accused shop owner over to the police for his own protection as they feared he might be killed.
"The priests have locked the doors of the church in fear of further attempts to raid the building," said Kirollos who added that some protesters have already tried to break through the security barrier surrounding the church.
Security forces are blocking the entrances and exits of Al-Marshada village and the church to avoid any further clashes.
Meanwhile, head of security in Qena Salah Mozeed said that investigations are ongoing, adding that the girl's family will be brought in for questioning.Read the full story here.