22 January 2020

“It’s a miracle I survived”: Christian woman attacked in Egypt for not wearing a veil

Catherine Ramzy Mikhail had her throat cut in a street close to her home. She was rushed to hospital where she received stitches; a few days later, she shared what happened to her with an Open Doors partner.

22 January 2020

Please note that this story contains distressing details.

A Christian woman in Egypt, Catherine Ramzy Mikhail, had her throat cut in a street close to her home because she was not wearing a veil. She was rushed to hospital where she received stitches; a few days later, she shared what happened to her with an Open Doors partner.

On Friday 10 January, Catherine (50), mother of four, was in her own neighbourhood and on her way to buy food at around 8pm. Catherine told us, “Suddenly, a man grabbed me from behind, covered my eyes with his left hand, lifted my head up and slit my throat from left to right. He shouted, ‘Allah Akbar (God is great) – I am slaughtering you because your hair is uncovered.’”

Although Catherine felt a sharp pain coming from her neck, she managed to escape his grasp and run away, putting her scarf against the wound to stop the bleeding. She says, “When I looked back, the man was just standing there looking at me with a threatening gaze.”

The incident was recorded by a CCTV camera across the street. The footage shows the man, dressed in the white galabia, the traditional dress often worn by extremists. He stands and looks at Catherine with seemingly no intention to run away from the crime scene, even as people from the nearby café start crowding around Catherine. 

Catherine sent pictures of her wound, but we have decided not to share them because they are so graphic and potentially distressing. She did say that, according the to the surgeon, the cut went to the third layer of her neck, cutting through the muscles. “The cut stopped only millimetres away from my carotid artery. It’s is a miracle I survived.”

She is thankful for the people from the nearby café who brought her to the hospital and handed the attacker to the police. But while the perpetrator is imprisoned for at least another ten days, Catherine worries he might be on the street again soon. And for good reason: in 2017, this same man, 31-year-old baker Mamdouh A., was released shortly after attacking another Christian woman. The brevity of his sentence is because the police declared him mentally ill. 

Currently, the attacker is undergoing another psychological exam. But Catherine doesn’t think his mental state is the problem. “What happened to me is a terrorist attack; it’s an extremist acting on his beliefs,” she says. “If he gets out on the street again, he will repeat his crime and more women will fall victim. I don’t want anyone to go through what I have gone through: I call for justice to be done here.”

Catherine and her daughters (three are married and one is still living with her) are so shocked by the incident that they are afraid of going back on the street. Catherine says her mental state now is ‘very bad’. She says, “I can’t forget what happened to me. I don’t feel safe anymore. I feel so terrible. Please pray for me.”

Please pray for Catherine, that her physical wound would heal and that she would receive healing for the trauma she’s experienced. Ask for God’s protection for her and her daughters, as well as other Christian women in the area who are vulnerable to attack. And please pray that justice will be done.


Father, we pray for our Christian brothers and sisters as they come to terms with the rapid rise in violence and hatred in their nation. May they find their security in You, and a source of compassion, prayer and practical aid in their worldwide church family. May your Holy Spirit enable them to meet violence with peace and hatred with love.

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