ah’s tribulations began when a villager was incensed when Christian literature earmarked for Sherif Ramses’ store was accidentally delivered to him. Consequently, scores of Christians were rounded up by the Preventative Security Unit (an Islamic militia group), before being incarcerated in the absence of any formal charges, in a Tripoli jail (Morning Star News, March 14, 2013).
According to the Morning Star News (March 14, 2013), while in the militia’s custody, Atallah like other Christian prisoners was severely beaten, tortured through electrocution by the militia and denied proper medical treatment by the medical personnel on duty, on March 6. To show for the extent of state apathy, the Libyan government explained away Atallah’s death which occurred on March 10, as having been caused by high blood pressure and collapsing. The embassy of Egypt on the other hand explained Atallah’s death as a culmination of natural causes.
Morning Star News, (March 14, 2013) reports that these incidences sparked protests by the Coptic Solidarity, an advocacy group in Washington DC. The caucus demonstrated in front of the Libyan embassy, condemned Atallah’s murder and the failure on Egypt government’s part to defend its citizens, while calling for: the release of all Egyptians who had been charged with evangelization in Libya; and an investigation into Hakim Atallah’s death. The bereaved in Atallah’s murder include an 11-year-old daughter, a 15-year-old son and a widow, Mrs. Ragaa Abdallah. Atallah and his compatriot Ramses ran phone sales business and owned a bookshop which stocked Christian and secular literature, respectively. Apparently, members of the Preventative Security Unit used Ramses’ mobile phone to identify and apprehend other Christians in the area.
The news item reveals the challenges of the 21st century faith as being caused by religious intolerance. It is a fact that the state-instigated religious persecution being meted out against