Christian businessman in Alexandria murdered for selling alcohol

A Christian businessman in Alexandria, Egypt was murdered for selling alcoholic beverages in what is seen as another Islamist attack.

(REUTERS / Asmaa Waguih)A man walks past classical Greek style columns as he leaves Alexandria Opera House towards Fouad street, Egypt, March 6, 2016.

On Jan. 3, an Islamist slashed the throat of a Christian businessman in Alexandria while the victim was smoking shisha in front of his store. The latest attack comes just three weeks after a suicide bombing in the main Coptic Cathedral near Cairo which left 27 people dead, PJ Media notes.

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According to some media reports, the Christian store owner had agreed to not engage in the sale of alcoholic drinks during the Ramadan period last year. However, the murder is seen as a "hisba," or the enforcement of Islamic law, even though there are other stores and restaurants in Egypt that sell beer and other kinds of liquor.

Meanwhile, in light of the Cairo church bombing, the New York Times decried the Egyptian government's failure to protect Christians from armed Islamists who are always targeting them in deadly attacks. The publication also slammed the public for its apathy.

Although church bombings in Egypt have occurred before, it was the first time that a church was bombed from the inside. The Times also notes that it was the first time that Islamic State-linked forces have attacked civilians after months of targeting police and military forces.

In addition, more Egyptian Christians have died at the hands of Egyptian military than during the Dec. 11 church bombing. When Christians staged a protest in October 2011 against a separate church attack, 28 Christians were killed when violence escalated between them and the military.

From 2011 to 2016, there were at least 77 religiously motivated attacks on Coptic Christians in Minya province, according to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. Coptic Church head Pope Tawadros II has said that there is an average of one attack a month against Christians in the last three years.

None of the suspects in the attacks targeting Christians have faced trial for these violent incidents, and it seems the police do not even investigate in some of these cases. Christians, on the other hand, reportedly face harsh punishment from Egypt's criminal justice system.

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