07/23/2019 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – Coptic Christians living in the village of Kom Al-Raheb have once again been forced to hold a funeral in the street because their church was closed by police in December 2018. The church, which was operating without a license, is seeking official recognition but was 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. The police had closed the church in order to pacify the Islamists. A reconciliation session resulted in an agreement that the church would be closed until it is granted a license and local politicians would speed the process. Instead, the church remains closed eight months later.
This was the third funeral that Christians have held in the streets of Kom al-Raheb within the past five months. The funeral was held on July 17th, when temperatures were 109 fahrenheit. Frustrated at once again being forced out on the streets, the Christians attending the funeral were angry that the service had to be rushed because of the heat. They opened the church and held a sit-in. The police once again responded with promises to quickly legalize the church.
No progress has since been made at opening the church.
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