Fear Lingers after Egypt's Anti-Christian Attacks

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Nearly one month after a wave of attacks against churches in Egypt, Christians in the governorate of Minya, one of the hardest hit areas, are still in fear for their lives.

That situation has them risking reprisal to tell reporters what happened in last month's violence.

Christian activist Adel Shafiq showed what's left of the Virgin Mary monastery in the town of Dalga. Among the ruins are the charred, sacred bones of monks -- destroyed by enraged supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi. An ancient door was vandalized. Nearby churches were also burned.

"We still don't have a church to pray at," Shafiq said. "We are still trying to clean them up. We have four churches in the area and we cannot pray in any of them."

An Anglican church in the Minya village of Mallawi was one of more than 130 churches and Christian institutions attacked.

Ishaak Sadek Sheounda, a church guard, said Islamic militants overpowered him.

"The church was surrounded on all sides and the people surrounding the church were armed," he recalled. "They couldn't be less than a thousand, totally surrounding the church, carrying weapons."

Christian Janet Wadie described what happened when the Islamists attacked her home on Aug. 13.

"They threw petrol bombs at us, which burned our balcony," she said. "Neighbors tried to extinguish the fire, but we became frightened and ran away."

While the town of Dalga is home to more than 20,000 Christians, it has remained outside government control since Islamists drove police out July 3 -- the same day Morsi was removed from the presidency.

Egypt's interim government has named a new police chief and has pledged to send reinforcements to protect the Christians.

Still, many believers in Dalga and elsewhere in southern Egypt live in fear, believing a new wave of attacks against them could happen at any moment.

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