Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tough Times Continue in Egypt
The Associated Press has reported on a clash between Copts and Muslims in Egypt over the discovery that some Copts had been praying in a disused factory which the Church had bought.
A crowd of angry Muslims quickly gathered, threw stones at the building and burned banners that said, "No to the church." They tried to storm the gates, clashed with police and chanted, "The church has fallen, the priest is dead," according to witnesses.
Pope Shenouda III "has ordered a cessation to prayers in the building belonging to the Church of Virgin Mary... after confrontations between the worshippers and some of the neighborhood's residents in front of the building," state news agency MENA quoted him as saying.
Under an antiquated law, inherited from when Egypt was under Ottoman rule, Christians are obliged to secure presidential permission before building a church or expanding an existing church.
This clash is particularly concerning because it shows that the conflict between Copts and Muslims continues to spread beyond Upper Egypt.