Egyptian Security Forces
Close Down Church near Maadi
Dhimmitude Still Alive in “Secular” Egypt
Press Release

The following news item appeared in the Egyptian Newspaper "Al-
Ahali," on July 22, 1998, in the first page:

"In an unprecedented action, the (Egyptian) Security Forces closed 
down a church in the vicinity of Maadi (near Cairo), wax-sealing 
all of its doors, windows and the inside doors of its rooms. The 
raid was led by officers from several security apparatuses in a 
spectacular show of force that included several high ranking 
officers and many soldiers with more than 7 armored cars, 
motorcycles and sirens after sealing off the whole area. The people 
living in the area, especially the Copts were stunned at the 
presence of such massive security forces. They were offended at 
the act of wax-sealing the doors of the church, not just closing it 
down.

"The congregation of the church sent cables of denunciation of the 
incident and an appeal for help to President Mubarak. H.G. Bishop 
Daniel also sent a petition to General Habib Al-Adly Minister of 
Interior. Pope Shenouda received the news of the closing of the 
Church with much distress; he declined the attendance of a 
(previously scheduled) conference for national unity in Al- Azhar 
University. Some simple-minded people in the area tried to wipe 
out the disgrace by their own hands, if it were not for the 
interference of Bishop Daniel, who calmed them down, and asked 
them to seek peaceful measures instead.

"The church was built 4 years ago, on a 700 square meters piece of 
land owned by the Coptic Church in the Kostica area which is part 
of the Diocese of Maadi. The church sits at the foot of the 
mountain and is used for praying on Sundays only. A spokesman 
for the Security Forces attributed the closing due to the lack of an 
official permit. However it was mutually understood that the 
building of the church would start first until the permit is secured 
in a later date. An example is the church of the Virgin Mary in Dar 
Al-Salam which obtained its permit 12 years after it was built and 
used for prayer. This in addition to the fact that the citizens of the 
area, Muslims and Copts, live together in peace and harmony 
without any provocation or problems."

Comments
This flagrant act of violence against the peaceful Christian 
minority of Egypt comes at a time when the Egyptian government 
is giving the outside world the notion that it is finally in the 
process of addressing the Coptic problem. The fact that the 
operation was executed by officers belonging to different security 
apparatuses is a proof that the order came from a very higher-up 
authority. While President Mubarak alleges to the media, that there 
is no permit to build a church that he refused, his government 
commits such barbaric acts of closing down existing churches. The 
manner of how the church was closed down, and the harshness of 
the police forces towards the peaceful worshippers was nothing but 
a slap on the face and an insult added to injury. Amassing such a 
huge force against a few unarmed citizens while they were praying 
is a treatment only befitting a den of dangerous murderers. The 
claim that the church didn't have a permit was only a sham. The 
church was not hidden under ground. For 4 years the church was in 
existence, and the congregation was praying in it every Sunday. 
The timing of the incident, and the fact that it coincided with 
Congressman Wolf visit to Egypt and his investigation of the 
human rights violations against the Copts, raises many suspicions: 
Could it be that the Egyptian Government is sending the Copts a 
message that the more the government is pressured to improve the 
Copts' condition, the more they are going to make life miserable 
for them? In other words, Copts should be happy with the status 
quo or it will be worse! Like hostages, Copts must accept whatever 
crumbs, their captors throw to them, and don't complain, or else!!

Please pray and stand in support of your oppressed Coptic 
Christian brothers and sisters in Egypt. 

Christian Copts of California 
P.O.Box 661336, 
Los Angeles, CA 90066 
Phone: (310) 391-2890 Fax: (310) 391-1035 
e-mail: thetruth@aol.com


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