Egypt: Muslims demolish church, arrest Christians
Islamic law forbids the construction of new churches. Christians are “forbidden to ring church bells or display crosses, recite the Torah or Evangel aloud, or make public display of their funerals and feastdays, and are forbidden to build new churches” – Reliance of the Traveller o.11.5 (6,7)
“Christian church demolished in Egypt, Christians arrested,” Time24, May 30, 2020:
A Coptic Orthodox church was demolished and a Christian leader attacked in the village of Koum Al Farag, Egypt. The religious building was 15 years old and served for the worship of 3,000 Christians, as well as being a place for weddings, baptisms and funerals. The destruction of the church was a punishment for the “crime” of building rooms for Sunday school.
“We decided to build two more floors in the church hall for church activities, like Sunday school classes, which was cool for us,” explains member and deacon, Bishoy.
When the work began, some extremist Muslims began to attack Christians, but were restrained by moderate Muslims from the village. However, they did not give up, they started to build an illegal mosque on the land next to the church, suitable for agriculture.
“We believe that they built this in protest. Our village already has four mosques and another was not really needed. In addition, they built without a foundation, ”says Bishoy.
To solve the problem with the illegal mosque, the authorities decided to demolish both the Islamic and the Christian buildings.
“The church’s lawyer made an official appeal against this order, but the mayor ignored it – despite having been informed – and sent 200 police officers without warning,” says the deacon.
The decision was not welcomed by the Christians in the village, so they protested by appearing at the site in possession of the documents. However, the police and some radicals began to insult and assault Christians, including women and children. The church leader received so many punches in the face and chest that he passed out.
Police officers arrested 14 people and released them only the next day. One man, whose arm was broken, was among those detained by the authorities and did not have appropriate medical treatment. Even with the confusion, the other members witnessed the destruction of the community they frequented.
“The demolition of the church took six long hours. Then the tractor continued to the mosque – the illegal building – and knocked down just one wall, ”laments Bishoy.
The demolished church was the only one in the village, and the nearest one is 15 km away….
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