‘This is not religious strife, this is state sponsored terrorism’

Hani Bushra describes his experience of the violence in Cairo on Sunday night and points to evidence of the ways it was choreographed by state security services intent on fomenting sectarian conflict. “Christians where are you, Islam is here,” was the chant the mobs had been fed. And as these mobs hunted down their victims, innocent people were accused of carrying concealed weapons. (H/t Issandr El Amrani.)

The people marching were chanting “Christians and Muslims are one Hand” and I was leading them in saying that. I met with Alaa of manalaa.com and we continued to march towards Maspero.

The group was peaceful, and I was taking pictures using my Ipad. We reached the point where the 6th October bridge exits towards Maspero, and there was a large cordon of police who are members of the Central Security Forces (CSF). There, I was told not take pictures by people wearing civilian clothing and I fought back saying it was my right.

I began to walk back towards Hilton Ramsis, and suddenly 5 vehicles full of CSF soldiers showed up. People began to pelt them with rocks, destroying the wind shields, and the causing the drivers of the vehicles to panic, thereby hitting into each other and the sides of the road. I and some other people were trying to calm people down into not attacking the vehicles but the people were angry.

At that point, I was alone, and so I began to walk back to Tahrir. I was tweeting at that time. Someone saw me tweeting and came to me. He asked my name and so I said Hani Sobhi, he then grabbed my wrists to see if I had a cross tattoo, and when he did not find it, he asked for my full name. I said Hani Sobhi Bushra. He asked if I was a Muslim or a Christian, and I said that I was a Christian.

At that point he began to scream for others that he caught a Christian, and people began to gather. They wanted to search me and my bag, and I said that I will not let them, and that it was best to go to an officer. At that point there was about 30 people around me, with some of them punching me on my head.

I began to walk quickly to the cordon of the police that I had just came from. At that point, someone yanked my gold chain from across my neck and took the cross. All I did was to tell him “wow, you are such a man” and I clapped for him. That pissed the people who were with me, and so someone snatched my phone from my belt.

I kept shouting at the thief to give me my phone back, and he said that he will give it to me in front of the police officer. By that time, I was being hit from many people, my ankle was sprained and I was called a “Nossrani (Christian)” dog.

We reached the officer (rank of general), and the first thing that I did was to show him my U.S. passport and told him that I am now under his protection. I told him that I was attacked because I was a Christian. One of the men who is a policeman but wearing civilian clothing began to talk to the general that I was a Christian and that I institigated the mob to attack me and that I am carrying weapons in my bag. The officer, who had seen my passport, told him to shut up. This policeman in the civilian clothing seemed to be the coordinator between the mob and the police.

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