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Ayman Nabil Labib
Photo: Assist News

Seventeen-year-old Ayman Nabil Labib was murdered following a classroom altercation in Mallawi, Minya province, on October 16. Although Egyptian media reported the incident as non-sectarian, his parents reported that their son was murdered "in cold blood because he refused to take off his crucifix as ordered by his Muslim teacher." Ayman also had a cross tattooed on his wrist, as per the Coptic tradition, as well as another cross which he wore under his clothes. According to witnesses, he was told to cover up his cross tattoo, but refused and defiantly exposed the second cross he wore under his shirt.

While official sources reported that Ayman was beaten up in the school yard, in reality he was severely beaten in the classroom in the presence of the teacher, who allegedly attempted to choke him. Ayman was then followed as he fled to the washroom, where the attack continued. He was still breathing when a supervisor took him to his room, but was dead an hour later when an ambulance transported his body.

Two Muslim students were detained in connection with the murder. However, there are grave concerns that local officials may be "hiding" the evidence and trying to influence witnesses, claiming that the attack took place as a result of friction between students. Meanwhile the governor of Minya has suspended the school's headmaster, two supervisors, and two social workers who were on duty when Ayman was killed. Since then, all five have reportedly disappeared.

Please pray the Lord will comfort this family and the entire Coptic community over this most recent tragedy. Please pray the perpetrators will be brought to justice. Pray that the Lord will use this difficult situation to spread His goodness and grace throughout Egypt.

Go to the Egypt Country Report for more details on the persecuted Church in Egypt.