File - In this Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015 photo, Coptic Christians walk outside St. Markos Church in Minya, south of Cairo. (AP Photo/Roger Anis)
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Souad Thabet's house no longer has a door.Thabet, 70, describes being dragged outside by Muslim villagers and stripped naked in the dirt roads of Alkarm, the Egyptian village where she spent most of her adult life.Orthodox Copts like Thabet, who make up about a 10th of Egypt's 90 million population, are the Middle East's largest Christian community.Ishak William, Thabet's neighbor and relative, told Reuters at his house in Alkarm.Sectarian violence often erupts on the back of rumors about interfaith romances or suspicions that Christians are building churches without the required official permission.Homes are burned, crops are razed, churches are attacked and, occasionally, Copts are forced to leave their villages, say human rights groups and residents of the southern province of Minya, home to Egypt's largest Christian community.Neighbors who witnessed the incident told Reuters it took place on May 20, when a group of Muslim men set fire to seven Christian homes and stripped the grandmother naked in the street after rumors of her son Ashraf's interfaith affair.Nasr did not respond to repeated attempts to reach him on his mobile phone. He visited Alkarm Friday, after Sisi denounced the attack.Yakoub later found Thabet hiding in the home of a Muslim neighbor.Umm Magdi, the Muslim neighbor who sheltered Thabet, played down the incident as "threats from silly youths".
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