Amreyya Copts return to their homes following reconciliatory meeting

Following the success of a reconciliatory meeting, five Coptic families evicted from the Village of Sharbat in Amreyya, near Alexandria, returned to their homes after a conflict that erupted two months ago over rumors that a Coptic man, Mourad Gerges, was having an affair with a Muslim woman. Gerges and his family will not be allowed to return.

Nader Murkos, an adviser to Pope Shenouda III and member of the Alexandria Millet Council, said the meeting included Father Baqtar of the Orthodox Church and branches of the Suleiman families that had been evicted in February, as well as a number of Sharbat village elders. The two sides agreed on the return of the five families following restoration and repair of damages that resulted from angry mobs attacking their homes.

Murkos went on to say that the “residents were bound by intimate relations.” MP Mustafa al-Najjar said the displaced families returned to the village following great efforts exerted by a number of MPs and legal figures.

MP Marianne Malak said that along with MPs Ahmad al-Sharif and Sharif al-Hawary, she observed the return of the families to their homes and the implementation of the remaining recommendations of the parliamentary committee that was formed three weeks ago to tackle the issue. She pointed out that MPs Hawary and Sharif pledged to provide the Copts with protection and ensure their safety after they made sure that Muslims in the village welcomed their return.

In February, eight Coptic Christian families were evicted from the village following attacks on Coptic homes and businesses on 27 January after rumors of Gerges’s alleged affair circulated. The decision to evict the families came after a meeting of village elders — a traditional form of conflict resolution.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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