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Egypt: Coptic Christian Girl Jessi Boulus, Age 10, Shot Dead after Cairo Bible Study

Jessica Boulus

Jessica Boulus

A 10-year-old Coptic Christian girl was shot dead last week as she walked home from Bible study class in the capital city of Cairo.

BBC reports Jessi Boulus was killed by a single gunshot to the chest as she walked home in a working-class neighborhood in Cairo on August 6.

Morning Star News reports Boulus was walking with a teacher through a market in the Ain Shams neighborhood after leaving the Ahmed Esmat Street Evangelical Church when she was shot dead.

No one has claimed responsibility for the girl’s murder; no suspects have yet been identified.

“She was my best friend, my everything,” the slain girl’s mother Phoebe told the BBC. “Jessi was just becoming a young woman. Every woman dreams of becoming a mother, and for 10 years I was lucky enough to be a mum.”

“Jessi was everything to us,” added her father, Boulus. “Her killers didn’t know that Jessi was my life, my future. They killed our future. I lived for her. We both did.”

Phoebe said she believes Jessi was killed only because she was a Christian. Copts, an ancient sect of Christianity dating back to about the year 50 AD, number about 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 82 million. They face widespread and growing discrimination and hostility, especially since the fall of the secular Mubarak regime as a result of the Arab Spring revolt of 2010-2011.

Muslim mobs regularly attack Coptic churches. Copts have been massacred by security forces while protesting such violence. Egyptians have even been jailed for years for renouncing Islam and converting to Christianity. The Coptic Pope, Tawadros II, has received death threats.

The Boulus family told the BBC they had grown increasingly concerned about their own safety and even considered leaving the country. But they decided to remain in Egypt, their home. Mr. Boulus said that Western support for Islamic fundamentalism in Egypt, embodied by US backing of the recently-deposed Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohamed Morsi, is partly to blame for the climate of intolerance that led to his daughter’s murder.

“I’m telling you in the West that your taxes and government money go towards supporting the killing there– by funding Islamist political parties,” Boulus asserted.

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