Sunday, March 25, 2012

Christian family expelled from Egyptian town

After living in Amriya for nearly twenty years, Nabil Gergis and his family - who are Coptic Christians - has been expelled from the Egyptian town where the majority of residents are Muslim.  The cause of his expulsion is a sex tape purported to show his brother with a Muslim woman.

From the Associated Press:
Angry residents in the conservative, Muslim-majority town held protests and set fire to the Gergis family businesses. None of the attackers was prosecuted. Instead, a committee of tribal elders, local lawmakers and security officials ordered the 11 members of the Gergis family — the brother, Nabil and others — to leave town.


The incident erupted in late January, when the explicit video allegedly showing Nabil Gergis' brother with a Muslim woman circulated on residents' cell phones. The brother, who is married, has denied any affair.

Any sex outside of marriage is a lightning rod for controversy in the Muslim world, where a woman's chastity is vociferously protected by her family. That a Christian man might have an affair with a Muslim woman only further fanned the flames.

The rumors sparked widespread protests by Amriya residents, who are mostly tribal and deeply traditional. Angry residents set fire to three stores owned by the Gergis' family, which were under their homes. Some Muslim residents tried to help, but were outnumbered by the ultraconservative rioters.

Police showed up hours later and instead of investigating the attack called in the brother for questioning, Gergis said.

With tempers still high, local officials and tribal leaders held a series of meetings and decided to order the expulsion of the entire Gergis family. A Muslim family who had fired shots in the air during the protest to protect their property were initially told they must leave too, but were later allowed to return.

Amriya police argued that they could not guarantee the Gergis family's safety in the face of angry protesters, according to security officials and the Gergis family. Last week, with the family gone, their homes were robbed of cash and other belongings they had to leave behind, Gergis said [more].

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