Egypt cops 'blocked Copt church repair' 

Egypt cops 'blocked Copt church repair'MoneyBiz 

CAIRO - Egyptian police used violence earlier this month to prevent villagers from repairing the only church in their area, a rights group said today, warning of a rise in sectarian tension as a result.

On August 17, "a policeman assigned to guard the Archangel Michael Church in Deshasha (Beni Soueif province south of Cairo) hit three women while they were taking sand into the church to fix the floor which was cracked as result of water collection underneath," the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) said in a statement.

After the incident rumours spread in the village that Copts had locked up the policeman inside the church, beat him up and tore his clothes, leading to the brief arrests of several Copts and to threats of retaliation from Muslim villagers, the group said.

"The worrying rise in sectarian tension that we have seen in Deshasha is a direct result of violations committed by the police," EIPR director Hossam Bahgat said.

"This incident must be investigated and those responsible held accountable."

In Sunni Muslim-dominated Egypt, the law allows the repair of churches without a prior permit but church officials msut give written notice to the provincial authorities, the EIPR said.

But according to officials from the Archangel Michael Church, the state security intelligence has prevented repair from being carried out at the church for the past 11 years.

Clerics said the church is the oldest in the region, was built in 1895.

It was last renovated in 1930 and serves 100 Christian families in the Deshasha village.

"The Archangel Michael Church in Deshasha is but one example of the futility of any efforts to reform and unify construction and renovation laws for places of worship so long as security agents continue to violate existing laws in a discriminatory manner and with complete impunity," EIPR said.

Egypt's Copts - the largest Christian community in the Middle East - account for an estimated six to 10 percent of the country's 76 million inhabitants and complain of systematic discrimination and harassment.


2014 united copts .org
 
Copyright © 2023 United Copts. All Rights Reserved.
Website Maintenance by: WeDevlops.com