Assaults committed against Egyptian Baha'is over the past several days in the southern City of Sohag. In a complaint filed in April 02, 2009 the Egyptian Baha'is called for the investigation to include those responsible for the direct incitement to the assaults and asked that the matter be referred urgently to criminal trial.
The attacks began on Saturday evening, March 28, 2009 in the village of al-Shuraniya, located in the Maragha district of Sohag, when dozens of Muslims village residents gathered outside of the homes of Baha'i citizens in the village and began chanting, "There is no God but God, Baha'is are the enemies of God." Those assembled then began pelting the houses with rocks, breaking windows and attempting to break in the Baha'i Houses.
On March 31, 2009 at approximately 7 pm, the attacks escalated when some Muslims residents of the village threw improvised firebombs and Molotov cocktails at the homes of the five Baha'i families living in the village, leading to the partial destruction of the houses.
The Baha'is said that the attackers broke or disabled the water connections to their homes to prevent them from putting out the fires. The Muslims attackers also broke into the Baha'is houses, vandalizing property inside and stealing some electrical appliances and livestock.
The attacks prompted some of the Baha'i families to flee their homes and hide in the fields until the following morning.
The police arrived during the attacks and dispersed the Muslim attackers; there was no information that any of the attackers had been arrested.
In April 01, 2009 the Egyptian police ordered the remaining Baha'is in the village to leave immediately and did not allow them to return to their homes to collect clothing, medicine, schoolbooks, money, or other necessities. Information gathered indicates that all Baha'is have forced to leave their own houses and move to another City as of the evening of 1 April.
The assaults on the Baha'is in al-Shuraniya began after an episode of the program "al-Haqiqa," aired on TV Channel Dream 2 on March 28, 2009 which discussed the Baha'i New Year celebration . The program featured a Baha'i from al-Shuraniya and Baha'i activist and dentistry professor Dr. Basma Musa. Also participating in the program a Muslim Journalist Gamal Abd al-Rahim that pronouncing all Baha'is as apostates and urges their killing.
Gamal Abd al-Rahim during the program, said referring to Dr. Basma, "This one should be killed." On March 31, only hours before the homes of the Baha'is were torched in al-Shuraniya, al-Gomhouriya an Egyptian Newspaper published an article by Gamal Abd al-Rahim in which he praised the residents of al-Shuraniya for stoning the homes of Baha'is in the village in the preceding days. He considered these crimes to be evidence of al-Shuraniya residents’ "protectiveness of their Islam religion and beliefs."
The Muslim leader, who claimed responsibility for the attack, is named Mohammad Youssry Mohammad. He identifies himself as the secretary of the youth committee of the village's National Party (al- Hezb al-Watany) and a teacher in the Islam religious institute of the village.
Update: Media coverage
El Gazira Channel
El Mohawar Channel, 48 Hours Program: