Four Shia killed in Egypt sectarian mob attack
An angry mob led by Salafist sheikhs torched and attacked houses of Shias in the small village of Zawya Abu Muslam in Giza governorate Sunday afternoon, killing four citizens.
Not less than 3000 angry locals attacked houses of Shias in the village Sunday afternoon after weeks of incitement by Salafist preachers, according to eyewitnesses.
"For three weeks the Salafist sheikhs in the village have been attacking the Shias and accusing them of being infidels and spreading debauchery," Hazem Barakat, an eyewitness and photojournalist, told Ahram Online.
Barakat, who reported the incident live on Twitter, took photos and videos showing one of the Shias began dragged in the street after being beaten. "I saw several Shias stabbed several times while they were being dragged in some sort of public lynching," said Barakat.
At least four have been killed according to the head of the Giza security directorate. According to eyewitnesses, there are not less 30 Shias badly injured who have been transferred to hospital.
The police force came late according to eyewitnesses and did nothing to stop the attack and public lynching. "They were just watching the public lynching like anyone else and did not stop anything," said Barakat.
"We hold President Morsi responsible for this attack," said Bahaa Anwar, a Shia activist. "There are not less than three million Egyptian Shiias who live in Egypt and last Saturday during the Syria solidarity conference attended by Morsi in the Cairo Stadium, Salafist sheikhs insulted Shias and incited hate against those Egyptian Shia citizens," said Anwar, adding that President Morsi did not refute these insults and incitement, though he claims to represent all Egyptians.
The outspoken Shia activist told Ahram Online that there are not less than 40 Shia families in Zawya Abu Muslam village. "Some of the families managed to leave while there are families who are still besieged in the village."
Anwar denied that Sheikh Hassan Shehata, the famous Egyptian Shia preacher, was killed in the attack as was spread in the media. "Sheikh Shehata is fine and he is currently safe," Anwar told Ahram Online, adding that Shehata was visiting one of the Shia families in the village when the attack happened.
Salafist Islamist TV host Khaled Abdullah claimed that Hassan Shehata was attacked because he insulted the Prophet Mohamed's relatives, blaming Al-Azhar for being silent on Shias in Egypt hours after the attack on Al-Nas TV channel.
Several Salafist and conservative Facebook pages, like "The Muslim Coalition to Defend the Prophet's Family and Companions," also bragged of the murder of the Shias, claiming that that was just the beginning of ending Shiism in Egypt.
By Zeinab Gundy