When the angry mob was rampaging through town, storming her home and those of other Christians, the 70-year-old woman hid in her cow pen, pushing a rock against the door. There she cowered for hours, at one point passing out from tear gas being fired by police that seeped in.
When Sameeha Wehba emerged just before dawn, she found she was the only Christian left in this small Egyptian village just south of Cairo, the location of some of the country’s earliest pyramids.
Dahshour’s entire Christian community – as many as 100 families some estimate – fled to nearby towns in the violence earlier this week. The flock’s priest, cloaked in a white sheet to hide him, was taken out in a police van. At least 16 homes and properties of Christians were pillaged and some torched and a church damaged.
The violence was ultimately rooted in a dispute over a badly ironed shirt that escalated into a fight in which a Muslim was burned to death, sparking the rampage by angry Muslims.
“It was a devil’s moment,” Wehba said Thursday at the home of her Muslim neighbors, who have taken her in. “Whoever caused this was the devil’s son.”
The unprecedented exodus underscores how sectarian divisions are bubbling over in the wake of the revolution, in a country where 10 percent of the population is Christian.
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