ICC Note: Muslim extremists burned down a church in North Egypt according to a local Coptic Bishop. St Mary’s Church was a makeshift place of worship as the government hasn’t authorized for the community to build a proper church since 2009. Last Thursday, even this temporary place of worship was destroyed. Egyptian media has claimed the fire was caused by an electric short-circuit.
05/16/2016 Egypt (Christian Today): Extremists burned down a church in Minya, North Egypt, on Thursday according to a local Coptic Bishop.
“St Mary’s Church in the village of Esmaelia al-Bahreia was burned down completely after an attack carried out by extremists,” said Bishop Macarius of Minya.
Egyptian media, which reported the fire, has claimed an electric short-circuit caused the incident. However, the Bishop has claimed the fire was arson, according to World Watch Monitor.
St Mary’s Church was a makeshift church made from wood, located six kilometres North of Minya City. It was used in lieu of a “proper church” due to government restrictions:
“The makeshift church has been used for worship for over a year… since a proper church is yet to be authorised by the government since 2009,” the Bishop said on Facebook.
In 2013 there was an upsurge in attacks on churches in Egypt, and a number of Christians were killed.
According to a report by the Coptic rights group Maspero Youth Union, around 65 churches were destroyed, some dating back to the fourth century.