By Emily Watt | 12 December 2019
Egypt | Christians Harassed For Drinking Water During Ramadan
An Egyptian Christian was detained by police for carrying a bottle of water during fasting hours this Ramadan. He believes he was targeted for his faith.
On 5 June Hani, Shamshoun Girgis, 31, arrived at Giza train station on his way to work, when he was approached by a police officer and asked to present his ID.
Girgis told Christian news agency, World Watch Monitor, that when the officer saw his ID revealed he was a Christian, the officer searched his bag.
“There was a bottle of water inside my bag and, while he was searching it, he was staring at this bottle with anger,” Girgis said.
“He took my ID from me and asked me to follow him. When I resisted and asked where he was taking me, he started insulting me and ordered that I stopped talking – as if I was a criminal.”
At the police station, Girgis says he was told that he was arrested because of the bottle of water found in his bag.
“The officer told me, ‘Why did you have this bottle of water while we are in Ramadan?’” he recalled.
“I told them I was not fasting because I was a Christian, but they insulted me and said that I would stay there until sunset and that I was not allowed to sit.”
“I was held at the police station for more than two hours and was dealt with in a very humiliating way for having done nothing,” Girgis said.
“When I am at work, I don’t eat or drink in front of my Muslim colleagues, as a sign of respect,” he added.
Ramy Emad, a Christian lawyer from Cairo, told World Watch Monitor that it's illegal to arrest someone – whether Christian or Muslim – for failing to adhere to the Ramadan fast.
It's Not The First Incident
On 6 June, farmer Adel Ayoub, 52, from a village south of Cairo, was drinking water outside when he was approached by a group of young men.
“They asked me, ‘Why are you breaking Ramadan fasting?’ I told them I was a Christian."
“As soon as they heard the word ‘Christian’, they attacked and beat me with their hands until I almost fainted.”
After the attackers fled, leaving him on the ground, he called his son who took him home.
Attacked For Drinking Tea
On 1 June a Christian minibus driver in Cairo was attacked for drinking a cup of tea.
According to an eyewitness, a group of men smashed the windows of the minibus and injured the driver with the broken glass.
“I approached the [minibus] and found out that the driver was attacked because he was drinking a cup of tea inside and also because he was a Christian,” eyewitness, Ashraf Mourad, said.
“There was a tattoo of a cross on his right wrist,” he added.
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Source: World Watch Monitor