Father and son were killed in Omrania, Egypt. Joseph, 70, was sitting outside his store when a man approached him and stabbed him multiple times. When his son, Emil, came to help him, he too was stabbed. Although they were taken to hospital, the injuries were serious and they did not survive.
Police authorities have arrested Ahmad Mohamed Salah, 43, in connection with the attacks. Emil and his father own the “Abou El Houl” store on Khatem El Morsaleen Street, a well-known thoroughfare in the Omrania district, the largest in Giza Governorate. They have been merchants of alcoholic beverages for more than 30 years.
Muslims consider alcohol “haram” (illegal, or prohibited) and those who sell or consume it are frowned upon or even threatened. In January 2017, a Copt was killed in Alexandria while he was sitting in front of his liquor store.
In Giza, the Abou El Houl store was robbed once, about six years ago, Emil said. “Some armed and masked men entered after midnight, took the money and destroyed the bottles of alcohol,” he said. Muslim and Christian neighbors intervened and handed Ahmad over to the police. After the initial four days of detention, his detention continued for another 15 days pending the outcome of the investigations.
The attack on Joseph and Emil is the latest in a series of violent attacks on Coptic Christians this year. Insecurity and persecution is generating fear and episodes like the one with Jospeh and Emil. The Christian communities are a minority in areas that mostly process with Islam and live coerced. Religious freedom and respect for human rights are non-existent and the security forces do not ensure the safety of Christians.