Egyptian political coalition to visit former Islamist stronghold of Dalga

Ahram Online, Thursday 26 Sep 2013

Leading Egyptian political groups will visit the Upper Egyptian village of Dalga, where sectarian violence has become increasingly prevalent following political developments in Cairo

Egyptian Christian villagers clean up the damaged ancient chapel inside the Virgin Mary and St. Abraam Monastery that was looted and burned by Islamists, in Dalga, Minya province (Photo: AP)

A delegation representing several political groups will visit the southern city of Dalga Friday, according to a statement released on Thursday.

Among the delegation will be representatives of the Tamarod movement, the youth group that spearheaded the mass protests leading to Mohamed Morsi’s ouster. Representatives of the Maspero Youth Union, an organization of young Coptic activists, the 30th June Front, and the Journalists' Union will also be part of the delegation.

Located 435 km South of Cairo, Dalga has seen a surge in sectarian strife since Morsi was ousted by the military on 3 July, following mass protests calling for his departure.

The army and police stormed the Upper Egyptian village of Dalga in mid-September after Islamists took control of the city. Over 50 alleged radical Islamists were arrested.

Many of the 20,000 Christian residents of the village have fled as a result of attacks on several churches and Christian houses. According to a recent report published by the Egyptian Centre for Public Policy Studies (ECPPS), 27 Coptic houses were attacked in Dalga, causing 62 families to leave the village.

The village witnessed the peak of sectarian violence on 14 August, when Islamists sit-ins in Cairo were violently dispersed by security forces.

The delegation will attend the noon prayer in the village's main mosque, before touring the town’s damaged churches and meeting the families harmed by the Islamists.

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