Egypt priest stabbed to death in possible hate crime

Egypt Coptic priest stabbed to death in possible hate crime

2 min read
13 October, 2017
Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church has said a priest has been killed in a knife attack in a poor Cairo district, the latest deadly assault on members of the country's Christians.
Attacks on Egypt's Christians have surged in recent months [Facebook/CopticChurch]

Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church has said a priest has been killed in a knife attack in a poor Cairo district, the latest deadly assault on members of the country's Christian minority.

The Church said in a statement on Thursday that the attack on Samaan Shahata, 45, took place in a northeastern suburb of the Egyptian capital.

Security officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the attacker struck the priest's head with a cleaver and fled the scene, but was later arrested.

Hundreds gathered on Thursday evening for funeral prayers for the slain priest, who was from the southern city of Luxor.

"Since 1972 acts of terrorism have repeatedly taken place. It is clear that matters are being dealt with extremely incorrectly," Cairo's Bishop Rafael said at the sober ceremony.

"Security crackdowns are not a cure. The state must make great efforts to change the culture of a people, who have been poisoned by violence and extremism," he added.

A source told local media that the attack was likely a hate crime perpetrated by an extremist linked to the Islamic State group. 

Attacks on Egypt's Christians, who account for about 10 percent of the country's 94 million people, have surged in recent months, with a series of suicide bombings claimed by IS killing more than 100 since December.