At least seven Coptic Christians were killed and another half dozen were wounded – many seriously – in a drive-by shooting after a Christmas midnight mass in Nag Hamadi in Upper Egypt.
Muslim residents of the town ransacked, burned and looted Christian homes and shops for five days after the alleged incident. It has been racked by sectarian violence since the alleged sexual assault of a Muslim girl by a Christian man, in November.
Egypt’s Coptic Christian community was celebrating midnight mass on Christmas Day, according to the Coptic calendar, when the shooter sprayed a large crowd in front of the church with a hail of gunfire. Many died on the spot. Others were taken to the hospital, in serious condition.
Eyewitnesses indicate the crossroads in front of the Virgin Mary Church in Nag Hamadi was crowded because of the Christmas ceremony. The shooter escaped during the chaos. Christians in Nag Hamadi say that they had received numerous threats of revenge in the days leading up to Christmas and that many of them were afraid to attend the midnight mass. VOA NEWS
Raw video of post-shooting
IRAN Arrests, Coerces Christians over Christmas Season
A wave of arrests hit Iranian house churches during the Christmas season, leaving at least five Christian converts in detention across northern Iran, including the mother of an ailing 10-year-old girl. Security officers with an arrest warrant from the Mashhad Revolutionary Court entered the home of Christian Hamideh Najafi in Mashhad on Dec. 16. After searching her home and confiscating personal belongings, including books and compact discs, police took her to an undisclosed location, according to Farsi Christian News Network. FCNN reported that on Dec. 30 the Mashhad Revolutionary Court sentenced Najafi to three months of house arrest and ordered that her daughter, who suffers from a kidney condition, be placed under foster care. Because of the seriousness of the girl’s illness, however, she was left in the custody of her parents – on the condition that they cease believing in Christ and stop speaking publicly of their faith. COMPASS DIRECT
PAKISTAN Muslim Mob Wounds Christian Family
Infuriated by an alleged anti-Islamic comment by a mentally ill man, more than a dozen Muslims attacked his Christian family here last week, beating his 20-year-old sister unconscious and breaking her leg. The woman’s father, Aleem Mansoor, said his daughter Elishba Aleem went unconscious after being struck in the head with an iron rod in the Dec. 28 attack. Mansoor said a Muslim known as Mogal beat him and his daughter with the rod on the street in front of their apartment home after falsely accusing his 32-year old son, who suffers from schizophrenia, of blasphemy. COMPASS DIRECT