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Mada Masr reported on January 16 that security forces closed the Mar Girghis Church in the Minya governorate village of Manshiyet Zaafarena after Muslim residents surrounded the church to protest its presence in the village, chanting “offensive and inflammatory” language according to a statement released by the Archdiocese of Minya and Abu Qurqas. Mar Girghis is the only  church in the village where 1,000 Coptic Christians reside.

This incident follows President al-Sisi’s decree last month establishing the High Committee to Combat Sectarian Incidents, which MP Emad Gad admonished for doing nothing “so far.”

During Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent visit to Egypt, he praised Egypt and President al-Sisi for the country’s “religious freedom.”

Coptic Solidarity took umbrage with Pompeo’s statementnoting that the church in the New Administrative Capital that the secretary celebrated “does little to rectify the decades-long inability for Christians in Egypt to repair and build new churches without onerous restrictions by the Egyptian government or the many towns that remain without a single church, or to remove the systematic and systemic discrimination Copts suffer at the hands of the Egyptian government and society.”


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