Human Rights Watch has called upon Egyptian authorities to protect churches and religious institutions from mob attacks.
The organisation said at least 42 churches and dozens of Christian institutions had been attacked since August 14 across the governorates of Minya, Asyut, Fayum, Giza, Suez, Sohag, Bani Suef, and North Sinai.
In addition to being torched and damaged, many Christian properties have been looted. At least three Christians have died in the attacks, which were carried out after Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in Cairo were violently broken up.
HRW is demanding an investigation into reports that security forces did nothing to prevent the attacks even when they had been made aware of the risk.
“For weeks, everyone could see these attacks coming, with Muslim Brotherhood members accusing Coptic Christians of a role in Mohammad Morsi’s ouster, but the authorities did little or nothing to prevent them,” said Joe Stork, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
“Now dozens of churches are smoldering ruins, and Christians throughout the country are hiding in their homes, afraid for their very lives.”