By Coptic Orthodox Archbishopric Diocese of Minya & Abo-Qorqas –
Translation by Coptic Solidarity
We remained silent since the infringements that took place midday today; Friday, January 11, 2019. As news has dispersed on social media sites, we publish the facts in this document.
The village of Manshiet Zafranah lies 5 km (3 miles) from the city of Al-Fikreya in Minya, where the Archbishopric owns a small place where prayers are conducted for some time. Approximately one thousand Copts live in this village.
Just a couple of hours after the Christmas liturgy on January 7, 2019, a group of hardliners entered the (prayer) place. The police drove them out. Meanwhile, two priests remained with the congregation inside the place.
(Today) More than one thousand hardliners, led a protest, shouting offensive and provocative phrases. That happened in the presence of the security forces. The security forces (police) asked the protesters to calm down, promising that their demands will be met.
These demands were that the place is emptied of people and shut down. The priests and congregation existed the place amid offensive cheers, cries of triumph and boasting, as well as women’s ululation (expression of rejoice).
Consequently, worshiping has ceased, and the place was shut down. It is to note that, this is not the first location that has been shut down. The common denominator, each time, is the submission to the demands of hardliners. They impose their will whenever they want as if they were the decision makers. As usual, pacifying (the hardliners) is at the costs of the Copts, being the easier solution.
This happened few days after the positive statements by the Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb regarding Churches and Islam’s position on them. Also, despite the president’s assurance, in many occasions, that all citizens have the right to worship. Also, despite all the great efforts made by H.H. Pope Tawadros to uphold national unity.
Since the attacks at 1.30 pm, to this moment; the security forces have not taken any action to deal with the instigators and aggressors. This is despite that (the attacks) took place in their presence; sight and sound. This (inaction) may encourage others to similar behavior in the absence of deterrent measure.
For info, another church (Anba Ruiz) in Mansoura (Bander El- Minya) was shut down on the 27th of December. We (have restrained) commenting on this matter since occurrence.
May the lord protect Egypt from every evil and mishap.
Published by Archbishopric of Minya and Abo-Qorqas 10 pm, Friday, January 11, 2019
Photo Credit: Louafi Larbi/Reuters