On the night of March 8 Yasser Makram was on his way home from work, his pick-up truck full of garbage as he turned up the winding dirt road on the edge of Egypts capital, to approach his home in the crowded Cairo slum known popularly as Garbage City. As he inched around a curve, he saw a swarm of people running towards the truck in his rearview mirror. "I didnt know what was happening," he says. But before he could consider the possibilities, the mob had pulled him from the truck. "They demanded to know if I was Christian." Makrams hospital report says the 27-year-old suffered "nerve damage" and "multiple deep wounds and fractures" that night. A long, sinister scar — a knife wound — now cuts across his face, ear to ear. And it will be at least a year before he can drive his garbage truck again. The mob stabbed him in the chest and beat him with pipes, breaking an arm and one of his ribs, before stripping him naked and dragging him, semi-conscious, up a dark and dusty road to the foot of the Citadel, a medieval Islamic fort.
Three months later, no one has been charged with the crime, the police apparently having shown no interest in filing a report while Makram was hospitalized. And Makram has no idea who his attackers were. But he remembers their response to the strangers who finally intervened to help him: "This is a Christian son of a bitch," they said. "Were going to kill him."