Coptic Christians in Ezbat al-Forn, of the Abyouha village in Abu Qurqas city of Minya governorate, said Sunday that security forces prevented them from holding mass and daily prayers, as the church is not licensed.
One of the worshipers told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the church is a staple of the Christian community, which consists of over 300 people, as they regularly hold prayers on the site.
Church sources said that security forces prevented the worshipers and the priest from accessing the church, so they worshiped in the street.
Head of Abu Qurqas city council, Brigadier Mohamed Salah, said that there is no licensed church in Ezbat al-Forn.
He added that the Coptic Christians in the area bring a priest with them every Sunday, and attempt to hold their rituals in homes not licensed for prayer.
“This morning, some Coptic citizens in the village of Ezbat al-Forn, tried to pray at the house of a citizen in the presence of a priest, prompting some Muslims to intercept them and prevent them, due to the fact they did not obtain permission to pray,” Salah said.
He pointed out that this led to the intervention of security services to prevent both sides from clashing, adding that no arrests were made.
Christians make up about ten percent of Egypt’s population of over 93 million people. Christians complain about unfair treatment, including rules, they say, make it easier to build a mosque than a church.
Clashes often erupt between Copts and Muslims over land, church construction or sectarian tension.
Edited Translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm