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02/15/2019 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – Coptic Christians living in the village of Kom Al-Raheb have held a funeral in the streets for the third time because their church was closed by police in December 2018.  The church, which was operating without a license, is seeking official recognition but has been targeted by hardline Islamists who do not want to see an official church in the village.

The village currently has no church, but there are approximately 2500 Coptic Christians living there, according to Watani. The police had closed the church in order to pacify the Islamists, who used a nearby mosque’s microphone to rally Muslim villagers against the Christians. A reconciliation session resulted in an agreement that the church would be closed until it is granted a license, local politicians would speed the process, and those arrested would be released.

Unfortunately, the situation in Kom al-Raheb is commonplace throughout Egypt. Police frequently cave to the demands of hardline Islamists instead of protecting the right of Christians to freely practice their faith. When churches are closed, Christians are left to worship and hold rites (such as funerals) in the street.

For interviews with Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].