Please pray for the Church in
Egyptian Police destroys a Coptic Church and hospitalizes its priest,
after local bishop asks for permission to hold prayers.
Washington DC (2/26/2001)--U.S. Copts Association received credible
information that On Saturday 2/24/2001, over 100 policemen,
accompanied by few lieutenant and Generals as well as 5 bulldozers
stormed the Church of (St. Bola) located in Shobra Elkhaima
(Qalyubia) and under the bishopric of H.G. Bishop Marcos. The priest
servicing the Church, Fr. Bola, refused to leave the church in
protest of the action by the police. The bulldozers started
destroying the church while the priest was inside and he was later
hospitalized in serious condition with visible wounds and emotional
shock and distress.
The church building was bought and owned by H.G. Bishop Marcos,
bishop of El-Qalyubia, since 1998. The building, which is a four
story in height, was being prepared by the Coptic Church to be used
for prayers and charitable work.
Bishop Marcos told US Copts Association that on Monday 2/19/2001 he
sent a letter to the interior ministry requesting a permission to
open the building to be used for Sunday school classes, daycare,
medical facility as well as a church. Five days after the bishop sent
his letter requesting permission for the building, the police stormed
the building and demolished it.
According to Bishop Marcos, the police are still carrying on the
action of destroying the building, until the time of this release,
and have barricaded all surrounding neighborhoods and refused to llow
Muslim and Christian residents back into their homes. I fears that
such action by the police will aggravate the Muslim and Christian
communities in the area and may start another wave of violence
against the Copts. "Already Muslims are blaming the church and the
Copts for the police presence in the area and disallowing them back
to their homes" said the bishop.
This aggression by the Egyptian police is an example of what takes
place from church to church in Egypt during the application of the
Hamayni Decree, which prohibits Christians from building a church
without getting permission from President Mubarak himself.
We call on the Egyptian President, Prim Minister and Minister of
interior to launch an investigation into this incident now and to
allow the people to go back to their homes. We also call on the
government to compensate the Coptic Church for the destruction of