Demolish This Church or Else
Secular tension between Copts and Muslims in the village of Udayssat, Luxor, Egypt, has continued this week as a result of the distribution of a new leaflet- widely circulated-, which caused the security forces to enforce their presence,
This new leaflet includes a warning “To whom it may concern” meaning the Copts, saying that if they want to live in peace and be allowed to stay in the village, they have to “Demolish the church where they pray within few days, or else
” According to a report made by the security officials who are trying to find the source of the leaflet, there is now a state of increased tension between the Muslims and Copts.
On the other hand, there has been an important meeting of the leaders of the National Democratic Party (NPD) of Luxor , held inside the village of Udayssat , and attended by over a 1000 Muslim youths. This meeting was called for by Abel Aziz El Udayssi, the local administrator of the party, Mamdouh Hassan Saad, member of the Egyptian parliament , and other party leaders such as Mohamed El Malawany, Mohamed Abel Zaher, and Nasr Herzallah the secretary of the party’s political committee.
In this meeting, the participants stressed their call for the national unity between Copts and Muslims but, at the same time, they used loud speakers to declare their refusal to accept the existence of the church, insisting that the Copts should not be allowed to pray in it, or even try to do any necessary repairs to the building.
Due to the increased tension that surrounded the meeting, it was decided by the security forces to end it, and delegated the leaders of the National Party to conduct talks with the “Nassara” ( a derogatory expression that refers to Christians) to reach an agreement. However, these leaders have confirmed that they will not change their demands regarding their demands of demolishing the church and to prevent the Copts from pray there. They asked the Copts to accept these conditions, and demanded the release of the Muslim suspects involved in the riots who were arrested after two Copts were killed during the last events.
On his part, Sha’ban Abdou, the head of the municipal authority of the village asked the committee delegated to conduct talks with Christians to claim that the church is nothing but a guest house that has no electric meter and to falsify that the church is stealing electricity and water supply!
24 people were detained as suspects of murder, arson and torching the church building and a taxi cab (plate number 3348 Luxor ) during the recent wave of violence.
In its former issue, Al Ahaly newspaper published a report supported by photos that confirmed the participation of the local National Democratic Party leaders in inciting the secular troubles, and urging young Muslims to attack the church to prevent Copts from praying and celebrating the feast of Epiphany. As a result, about 700 Muslims attacked the church and attempted to demolish it.