Police in Egypt are failing to following a new law that provides the nation’s Christians with freedom of worship, the right to restore old churches and build a new one – all under pressure from Muslims, documents a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Researcher C. Meital wrote at the Middle East Media Research Institute that the issue of discrimination against Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority has resurfaced recently in the Egyptian media.
“The renewed debate follows claims that the security forces, submitting to pressure by Islamist elements, are depriving Copts of their freedom of worship,” MEMRI said.
It gets political, too, as the Copts explain they supported President ‘Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi during the 2013 revolution that brought him to power, and that makes them the president’s “natural partners.”
Instead, they say security forces have been preventing them from holding prayers in several villages in Upper Egypt.
“For example, in early March 2017, residents of Nazla Al-Nakhl in the Al-Minya Governorate said that the security forces had prevented them from holding prayers on the grounds that this would provoke local extremists to harm them,” MEMRI reported.
“The security forces said in response that the villagers had tried to hold prayers in an unauthorized church.
“In August, two more incidents in Al-Minya villages were reported; in one, the security forces reportedly shut down a church in Kidwan village, and in the other, they prevented Copts from holding services in an apartment in Al-Faran village on the grounds that it was not an authorized church, and even blocked roads to prevent the Copts from reaching the area.”
The report cites a request from Bishop Macarius of Al-Minya for the federal government to uphold the law, as more than 15 churches have been shut down and about 70 villages have no church at all.
That’s why Cops seek alternative locations to worship, officials said.
Coptic villagers wrote to Al-Sisi: “In every meeting [with Copts] you [Al-Sisi] stress the improperness of directing offensive expressions at any Egyptian citizen, but today we know that what is happening in practice represents the opposite of your approach, for [we are treated] like criminals and transgressors who must be prosecuted [merely] for practicing their religion.”
MEMRI explained that the law adopted in August provides for the construction of new churches and the restoration of old churches, which previously required government permission in the Muslim majority nation.