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Egypt diocese says 3 churches closed over attack fears

The Minya Coptic Orthodox Diocese said authorities sealed off two churches in the southern province, citing harassment and attacks by extremists. A third was closed due to fear of attacks. The diocese urged authorities to end discrimination against Christians and “not to succumb to the fundamentalists.”

CAIRO – Egyptian authorities have shuttered three Coptic Christian churches in a southern province over fears of attacks by Muslim extremists, religious officials said Monday.

Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population of more than 100 million, have long complained of discrimination in the Muslim-majority nation, and say authorities have often failed to protect them from sectarian attacks.

The Minya Coptic Orthodox Diocese said authorities sealed off two churches in the southern province, citing harassment and attacks by extremists. A third was closed due to fear of attacks. The statement was issued late Saturday.

It said clashes broke out Friday when ultraconservative Muslims tried to attack one of the churches, adding that a Coptic woman was wounded. Later that day, the mob attacked Christian homes, the statement said.

“We have kept quiet for two weeks… but the situation has worsened. It seems as if prayer is a crime the Copts should be punished for,” the statement said, referring to the repeated closure of the churches.

The diocese urged authorities to end discrimination against Christians and “not to succumb to the fundamentalists.”

Read more at Crux – https://cruxnow.com/global-church/2017/10/30/egypt-diocese-says-3-churches-closed-attack-fears/

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