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Egyptian Copts Campaign to Rebuild Church

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=24423 Egyptian Copts Campaign to Rebuild Church Written by The Media Line Staff Published Monday, March
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2, 2009
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      http://www.themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=24423

      Egyptian Copts Campaign to Rebuild Church
      Written by The Media Line Staff
      Published Monday, March 02, 2009

      The Egyptian Orthodox Church – also known as the
      Coptic Church – has joined a campaign launched by
      the Coptic Diaspora to obtain permission to
      rebuild a church in the governorate of Sohag, the Daily News Egypt reported.

      “There is legislation that differentiates between
      Egyptians versus the right to build and/or
      maintain places of worship. The procedure for
      Egyptian Muslims to build a new mosque is not in
      the hands of our president and does not require a
      presidential decree,” Youssef Sidhum,
      editor-in-chief of the Egyptian newspaper Watani told The Media Line.

      The church building had collapsed during the
      lengthy bureaucratic process that a Coptic
      congregation needs to go through in order to
      receive permission to maintain churches.

      Instead of just going to the local authority,
      parishioners have to apply to the national
      security service, which then brings the paperwork
      to President Hosni Mubarak for approval, Sidhum said.

      Mubarak claims to never having denied a request
      for either the construction or maintenance of a
      church; this is due to the fact that the security
      services, which can’t be held accountable, never
      handed him the papers, Sidhum said.

      Friction between the Copts, who constitute some
      10 percent of Egypt’s total population of 78
      million, and the Muslim majority, is frequent and sometimes violent.

      In February 2009, two Coptic writers were
      arrested at the Cairo Book Fair for handing out
      bibles. According to the police report, the men
      were arrested for “defaming Islam.”

      Some 95% of all Copts are members of the Coptic
      Orthodox Church, which is the oldest form of
      Christianity in Africa and one of the earliest
      forms of Christianity in the world.

      Copyright © 2008 The Media Line.
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