Christianity crackdown: Grave-robbers steal crucifix and body of priest – ransom demanded

Sick thieves in Sharouna, a village south of Cairo, targeted the tomb of a priest that had died 13 years ago. They made off with his corpse and a crucifix, religion watchdog International Christian Concern (ICC) reports. The robbers are currently holding the body of the priest to ransom.

The exact figure is not known.

ICC reports: “The deceased has two sons, both of whom are also priests. The graver robbers repeatedly called and attempted to intimidate them through blackmail to pay a ransom.”

The sons chose not to comply and instead called the police and reported the kidnap of their father’s body to officers.

The body was thankfully recovered soon afterwards.

Officers in Cairo are now investigating the incident.

They said the thieves are known to them from previous interactions with them.

It remains unknown whether the grave robbers were motivated by sheer greed or Islamic extremism, which is rife in areas of Egypt, the officers said.

There is a common misconception that Christians hide their valuables, meaning sites such as churches and tombs have been targeted in the past and looted.

READ MORE: Christian persecution: Church shut down for ‘made-up reason’ after residents complain

In parts of Egypt, Christians are considered to be second class citizens.

They are banned from being buried in Muslim graveyards as a result and because of this, it makes thieves easily able to single out Christian burial grounds for robbery, desecration and vandalism.

The shocking incident is one of many against Christians in Egypt.

The country is one of many that has hosted a rise in crackdowns on the faith long with communist nations China and Russia.


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In India, eight Christian families were seriously injured in an attack in Belchori in the northern region of Jharkhand by Hindu radicals two weeks ago.

The radicals demanded families of the Friends Missionary Prayer Band recanted their faith on July 14. When they refused, five Christian worshippers were attacked by a mob of more than 100 people.

CC reports the mob bludgeoned the Christians because they were angry they were living in the area.

Pastor Massih, who witnessed the attack but asked for his name to be changed to protect his identity, said “the Hindu radicals kicked Christians like footballs, and there were none to rescue the Christians from the hands of Hindu radicals”.

ICC also reports police refused to file a report on their behalf and instead insisted officers would attend the area to resolve the matter themselves.

Officers then attempted to justify the attacks, adding they happened due to the number of people converting to Christianity in the community.

Pastor Masih said the police then forced the Christians to compromise with the villagers by promising to less conversions to Christianity in the village and its neighbouring areas.

Christians in Jharkhand have faced increasing crackdowns from those wanting to oust the religion since the re-election of the Hindu-Nationalist party Bharatiya Janata Party. There have been 16 reports of anti-Christian incidents in the area since the start of the year.

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