In CS Releases & Articles

By Raymond Ibrahim – Coptic Solidarity –

Another example—there seems to be no end—of the difficulties experienced by Egypt’s most indigenous inhabitants, the Christian Copts, was on display last Easter (which for the Orthodox world was observed on Sunday, May 5, and celebrated in churches during the night of Saturday, May 4).

As discussed here, less than two weeks earlier, on April 23 in al-Fawakhir village, more than 500 Muslims savagely attacked and torched dozens of Christian homes due to a rumor that a church was to be constructed in the village.  In reality, all that happened was that a priest had visited and held a very quiet service in the home of one of the Copts, since the Christians of al-Fawakhir are denied a church.  This was enough to provoke local Muslims into paroxysms of fury.

Due to the violence and riots, State Security was called in to restore calm, and the situation remained tense right up to Easter.  Assuming that there would be no Easter for them, the Copts of al-Fawakhir were, accordingly, pleasantly surprised to find that Bishop Makarios, the Coptic head of Minya province, where al-Fawakhir is located, had come to their village to hold a service in one of the homes of the Copts.

Best of all, the Easter prayer service ended without incident. Clearly, State Security, in a moment of magnanimity, allowed the bishop’s visit and prayers to proceed—perhaps as a signal that “you can pray, if we allow it.”

Even so, here is a reminder that what so many in the West take for granted—for example, the ease and security of attending church during Christian holy days—is not quite so easy or secure for others, and in this case, required approval and security services from the authorities.

Finally, because pictures are indeed sometimes worth a thousand words, below are images of al-Fawakhir’s Copts celebrating Easter this last May 4, 2024, in what appears to be an especially “fortified” building.   

At least the Christians of al-Fawakhir fared better than their counterparts of Nag Shenouda, who, because Muslims had earlier torched their church, celebrated Easter of 2015 in the streets—again, made possible only due to the “clement” authorities’ permission.

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