By Raymond Ibrahim – For Coptic Solidarity –
As recently reported, on Dec. 24, 2022, Muslims attacked a church and its Christians in Egypt, after authorities gave the Christians permission to fix their church’s collapsed roof, which had fallen on and hurt several worshippers. (According to strict sharia, churches must never be repaired but left to crumble over time.)
After police arrived and quelled the riots, they temporarily halted roof repairs, though with the promise to the Copts—who had waited for two years to receive formal permission to fix their roof—that they could resume work shortly.
Copts were skeptical because experience taught them that such promises were not to be trusted. But sure enough, and to the Copts’ great relief and surprise, on Dec. 25, they were permitted to resume repairs to the church’s roof, with the added protection of state security forces.
But then, on that same day, the local district governor came to “inspect,” and quickly decided that roof repairs must halt, immediately and indefinitely, even though more than one-third of the work had been completed.
When the Christians present at the site complained, indeed pleaded, “How can we pray when the roof is in such a condition, especially when it’s raining?” The (Muslim) governor barked back—“Cover it with a tarp!” In fact, this is not an option, as the partial repairs already made make it difficult to erect a tarp.
If they did not comply, and continued to work on the roof, the governor angrily threatened that he would completely “demolish” the church.
When asked to explain his decision, or at least tell them what they need to do to resume repairs, the governor gave no answer, and left the site.
All the cement mixers and trucks that the church had hired left on the governor’s orders, resulting in a monetary loss of some EGP 100,000 that the church had paid for them to repair the roof.
And so, as Orthodox Christmas approaches (January 7), the Christians of this community will have to celebrate the Nativity exposed to the elements, with the possibility of rain pouring down on them.
For those unaware, what just transpired is the notorious “good cop, bad cop” routine—Muslim style. The authorities themselves are the ones against repairing this church; but they rely on the Muslim mob to riot, at which point they step in pretending to be the “good guys” who, nonetheless, need to do whatever is necessary—in this case, leave a church in dilapidated and dangerous condition—to prevent violence and bloodshed from erupting again.
Discussing this incident, Adel Guindy, author of A Sword Over the Nile and former president of Coptic Solidarity, said:
It looks like that the “hidden-hand” that orchestrates this kind of ugly incidents wanted to get out of the boring routine, and add some excitement, befitting the season’s festivities and celebrations. In all cases, the message remains unchanged: “Christian Copts need always to be humiliated as a reminder of their dhimmi status.”