Egypt: Nine Coptic Christians released after imprisonment for peaceful protest

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Nine Coptic Christians who were imprisoned in Egypt for protesting the delayed government authorization for their church to be rebuilt have now been released, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.

Egypt ranks 20th on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2022 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted. One means by which Christians are harassed is in Egypt’s non-Muslim worship guidelines and the Church Building Law No. 60 of 2016 requirements that all churches must have a building permit and obtain further permission to rebuild to their own houses of worship.

“[Egyptian] Churches and Christian groups face many difficulties when trying to construct new buildings. The hindrances come both from state restrictions and from communal hostility and mob violence,” Open Doors explains in a website statement.

Members of St. Joseph and Abu Sefein Church in Ezbet Faragallah village in Minya governorate, the nine Coptic Christians were released on April 24, after being arrested and imprisoned in February, ICC said.

The Christians had led a peaceful protest in January 2022, urging the Egyptian authorities to grant them a permit to rebuild their church building after it was destroyed by fire in 2016. In July 2021 the authorities finally said a permit would be granted, but they have still not issued it.

“Christians are typically treated as second-class citizens. While Egypt’s government speaks positively about the Christian community, the lack of serious law enforcement and the unwillingness of local authorities to protect Christians leave them vulnerable to all kinds of attacks,” Open Doors noted in its statement.