Christians leave after Sunday service at the Al-Galaa Church at Samalout Diocese, in Minya governorate, south of Cairo, May 3, 2015. Copts have long complained of discrimination under successive Egyptian leaders and Sisi’s actions suggested he would deliver on promises of being an inclusive president who could unite the country after years of political turmoil. However, striking out at extremists abroad might prove easier than reining in radicals at home. Orthodox Copts, the Middle East’s biggest Christian community, are a test of Sisi’s commitment to tolerance, a theme he often stresses in calling for an ideological assault on Islamist militants threatening Egypt’s security. (PHOTO: REUTERS/STRINGER)

In Egypt’s Minya province, which has the highest percentage of Christians in the country, even the mention of the word “church” can be dangerous, as churches are believed to be religiously “unclean” by some local Muslims, according to a report.

“They burned my house. They burned the house my brother was building and the houses of five other brothers. They thought we were going to open a church,” NPR quotes Ebrahim Fahmy, a resident of Kom al-Lufi village, where the houses were attacked and set on fire in April when they had gathered to pray for the families of victims of the Palm Sunday attacks that had killed 44 people.

“Christians should go somewhere else to pray because the village has a lot more Muslims than Christians,” the mother of an underage Muslim student who allegedly attacked a group of Christian students was quoted as saying. She claimed that the Quran says churches are “haram,” or religiously unclean.

Father Daud, a member of the clergy, confirmed that he a has applied for a permit twice since 2006 to build a church in Kom al-Lufi, but the approval is still pending.

He said that Christians and Muslims generally have no tension in Minya but only as long as you don’t mention the word “church.”

Christian groups have called for a special legislation for churches in Egypt.

“The torching of Coptic homes in Kom al-Lufi underscores once more the urgent need for Egypt’s House of Representatives to enact a law regulating the construction and renovation of houses of worship in a manner that guarantees the right of Christians to worship in community with others,” said Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s senior press officer Kiri Kankhwende at the time.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Anugrah Kumar

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