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Egypt: Government officials close church, Christians attacked

The Egyptian government is very slow to approve applications for the construction of new churches. This story illustrates what are all too often the consequences: Christians go ahead with construction of an urgently needed church, and then are subjected to mob violence, often aided and abetted by government officials.

Please continue to remember in your prayers our brothers and sisters of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt as they are persecuted for their Christian faith. Pray for their safety and peace, and for that of the nation’s Greek Orthodox Christians as well. Pray that the government and police provide all the Christians of Egypt with the assistance and protection they need to construct churches and worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in freedom and without fear.

“Koum al-Raheb church closed, Copts attacked,” by Nader Shukry, Watani International, December 10, 2018:

The police has caught an unspecified number of Copts and Muslims in the village of Koum al-Raheb in Samalout, Minya, some 250km south of Cairo, and tightened security over the village, bringing calm in the wake of skirmishes between the village Muslims and Copts.

To Islamic cheers of “Allahu Akbar”, literally Allah is the Greatest, groups of Muslim villagers had this morning, Monday 10 December, waged attacks against the houses of the Copts in the village of Kom al-Raheb, pelting them with stones and thumping at doors and windows. They were livid that the Copts had a day earlier, Sunday 9 December, opened a new church building and celebrated Holy Mass inside. The police arrived and demanded immediate closure of the unlicensed church. The Copts persuaded the police to wait for Mass to conclude before closing the building, which they did and confiscated its keys.

Monday morning, local government employees arrived to the church to cut off water and electricity from the building through removing the electricity and water metres, a standard measure taken against unlicensed buildings. The village Copts gathered around the church to oppose this procedure, and stood praying out loud in the street in front of the four storey building.

According to the village priest who asked for his name to be withheld, the new church would have served the village’s 2500 Copts, since the village includes no church. He said that fundamentalist Muslims had used the local mosque’s microphone to rally the village Muslims against the Copts….

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