February 17, 2012
A mob of nearly 20,000 radical Muslims attempted to break into and torch the Church of St. Mary and St. Abram in the village of Meet Bashar, Egypt, ASSIST News Service reports. The mob was demanding the death of the church's pastor, Rev. Guirgis Gameel, on false accusations of abducting a 15-year-old Muslim girl who disappeared after her father arranged a marriage for her. Nearly 100 terrorized Coptic Christians sought refuge inside the church as Muslim rioters threw stones in an attempt to break in, assault the Copts and set the building on fire. A home of a Copt living nearby and the residence of a church staff member were torched, as well as three cars, before security forces arrived. A Coptic member of parliament contacted Egypt's Prime Minister, who ordered security officials to the village to disperse Muslims from the church and Gameel's home after the crisis and remain as peacekeeping forces in the area for at least two weeks.