April 25, 2012
A recent "reconciliation meeting" between members of a Muslim mob that attacked a Christian-owned school in Egypt and school administrators was, according to the director of the school, nothing less than an attempt at legalized extortion, Compass Direct News reports. In exchange for peace, members of the sword-wielding mob that stormed the school last month without provocation -- and held two nuns hostage in a guesthouse for eight hours -- initially demanded in the meetings that the school sign over parcels of land that included the guesthouse the Muslims attacked. Magdy Melad, manager of the Notre Dame Language Schools in Aswan Province, said that despite the risk of more attacks, he refused the assailants' demand -- but out of fear of future violence he agreed not to prosecute any of the hundreds of Muslims who attacked his school. The school still owns the guesthouse, but it has essentially been stripped bare, and government officials have ordered Melad not to use it. "Reconciliation meetings" are held throughout Egypt after incidents of "sectarian" violence to "restore calm," but Coptic rights activists say the meetings are just a way to pressure powerless groups and people into giving away what little rights they have.