By La Croix (via AINA) –
Muslims angered by the presence of a church in a Coptic Christian diocese in Egypt attacked the homes of Christian villagers, resulting in three people being hospitalized including two Copts and a firefighter.
The Minya Coptic Orthodox Diocese issued a statement reporting the news of the Aug. 31 attack and blaming the authorities for not taking the threat of violence seriously enough, according to The Associated Press.
It said Muslims had been kindling religious intolerance by handing out flyers in the preceding days announcing the pending attacks but that security forces had only arrived afterwards despite being notified of what was planned.
The diocese drew attention to how a similar assault had occurred in a neighboring village a few weeks earlier and demanded the perpetrators be strictly punished, AP reports.
Sectarian violence is usually restrained to rural communities in the south of Muslim-majority Egypt, where 10 percent of the population identify as Christian.
Anti-Christian fervor runs so deep that authorities often deny building permits for new churches to avoid triggering social unrest, the media reports.
Coptics say they live in a state of fear and typically use people’s living rooms or other discrete locations to pray and hold services out to fear of what hardline Muslims may do to parishioners who worship at churches.
Christians have also been blamed by some Islamists for playing a role in the ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi — a member of the since-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood — by conspiring with the armed forces.