04/14/2011, 00.00
EGYPT
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Soul, first Mass in the Coptic church burned down by Islamic extremists

Over 700 people attended the celebration. The reconstruction of the church of St. Mina and St. George took place thanks to the army. The Copts complain of the failure to arrest Islamic extremists responsible for the sttack and announce new protests.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Coptic Christians of the village of Soul (30 km south of Cairo) once again have their church, destroyed on March 4 by Islamic extremists (pictured) and rebuilt in exactly one month thanks to 'support of the army. Yesterday morning, more than 700 people attended the first Mass and the ceremony of raising the cross on the roof of the building.

Adel Medhat, Coptic Christian from the village, thanked the soldiers who allowed him to pray again in his church. Many Christian activists have praised the work of the army, which last March 13 had promised the reconstruction of the building before Easter, after protests by tens of thousands of Copts and moderate Muslims.

The simple reconstruction of the church, however, has not satisfied many of the villagers, who accuse authorities of not doing anything to prosecute the perpetrators of the fire, preferring to informally resolve the conflict between Christian and Muslim communities. For tomorrow, Coptic activists will stage a demonstration to demand the arrest and conviction of extremists responsible for the attack and the release of more than 17 Christians arrested during the protests which took place last March 11.
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