Egypt, Islamic extremists demolish Coptic church property in Fayyum
Cairo (AsiaNews) - Hundreds of Islamists have demolished a building owned by the Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George Taymah in the diocese of the Fayyum (central Egypt 133 km south of Cairo). According to the Egyptian news agency Middle East Christian News the incident occurred yesterday afternoon. The reasons for the assault are currently unknown. The two buildings, a meeting room and a center for parish events were under construction.
Fr. Rafic Greiche spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, points out that these facts have become commonplace in Egypt ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood. "This week - he says - another three buildings were attacked in other parts of Egypt." The priest said these events happen in rural areas and are often linked to disputes between the Coptic and Muslim communities. Religious hatred is just an excuse. In addition, the climate of impunity and insecurity, which in recent years has allowed many families linked to crime to act unscathed.
After the fall of President Mubarak and the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists, attacks against churches and Christian buildings have increased. In the poorest areas of the country, but also in the capital, cuts to public security and the army have left them powerless in the face of these attacks instigated by Salafis. With their money and their promises, the extremists urge residents to drive Christians out to take over their lands, taking advantage of the absence of a clear law that regulates the construction of religious buildings.
On 7 July 2011 a hundred extremists armed with sticks and iron bars occupied an area located a few meters from the church of St. Mina in Shubra al-Kheima in the heart of Cairo. As in the case of Taymah a new center for parish meetings was under construction. Amid police indifference, Islamists presided over the area for more than 24 hours and hoisted a banner reading "Mosque Ebad al-Rahman." Another case is that which took place in May 2011 in Merinab (Aswan - Upper Egypt) where more than 3 thousand Muslims incited by the local imam set fire to the small Coptic church in the village accusing the Christians of building it without the permission of the authorities. (S.C.)