Maspero Union demands dismissal of Morsi-era interior minister

Ahram Online, Monday 21 Oct 2013

Maspero Youth Union criticises interim government for failing to protect Copts, demands compensation for victims

Egyptian Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim (L), and ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi
Egyptian Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim (L), and ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (R). (Photo: AP)

The Maspero Youth Union, a coalition of Coptic activists, is calling for a protest on Tuesday outside the cabinet building in downtown Cairo to denounce the government's failure to protect Al-'Adra church, which was attacked on Sunday night.

The attack on Al-'Adra church, located in the working class Giza district of Al-Warraq, left four dead after unknown assailants opened fire late on Sunday during a wedding ceremony.

Those killed in the attack include eight-year-old Miriam Ashraf, 12-year-old Miriam Nabil, 45-year-old Samir Fahmy and 56-year-old Camilia Attiya, the groom's mother.

"The killing and threatening of Copts in front of the church is the responsibility of the cabinet and of Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi," read the statement issued on the group’s official Facebook page.

The Maspero Youth Union demanded that charges be filed against interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim and local security officials for "failing to do their job and protect the church."

The group also called for the implementation of a security plan to protect other churches from similar attacks.

According to Beshoy Tamri, a member of the group's political bureau, there were no security forces deployed outside the church on the night of the attack, citing eyewitness accounts.

"How can we believe that an interior minister who oversaw the  attack on the [main Coptic] Cathedral could possibly protect Christians from another attack," read the statement, criticising the interim government's decision to keep Ibrahim – appointed under former president Mohamed Morsi – in office.

Two people were killed and at least 90 injured last April when unknown assailants attacked mourners outside the Abbasiya Cathedral, where a funeral service was being held for four Copts killed in sectarian violence in Qalioubiya, north of Cairo.

"It is wrong to keep Morsi's interior minister, who was responsible for attacks on Copts and whose removal was already demanded prior to 30 June," Tamri told Ahram Online, referring to the late June protests that ultimately led to Morsi's ouster.

Tamri added that sectarian attacks were expected to cease after 30 June, and that "their continuation indicates that there is something wrong with this government."

The youth group's statement also demanded the arrest of the attack's perpetrators and compensation for the victims.

In addition, the group is demanding that those within the interior ministry loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood – the group from which Morsi hails – be removed.

"We are raising this demand because the August attacks on churches in Minya happened in coordination with the investigations commissioner from the town of Malawi," explained Tamri, referring to the violent attacks targeting Copts in Upper Egypt's Minya following the bloody dispersal of two pro-Morsi camps on 14 August.

Tamri further accused security officials of protecting some of the culprits behind the Minya attacks.

According to a report issued by the Egyptian Centre for Public Policy Studies (ECPPS), attacks against Upper Egypt Copts in the wake of Morsi's ouster were the most numerous in Egypt's modern history.

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