Islamic extremists and the Egyptian government are preventing Christians in the country from worshipping even though the Muslim people are receptive to opening Christian Churches in the community. Despite having a law, which took effect starting September 2016, that approves the buildng and restoration of churches in Egypt, Christians are in teh brink of subtly losing their worship places where they can propagate and freely express their faith.
According to a statement released by the Minya Coptic Orthodox Diocese last week, as reported by Fox News, the authorities closed two churches in the southern province, quoting harassment and attacks by Muslim extremists. They closed another one as a preemptive measure.
Egyptian news paper Almasry Alyoum reported, according to Christian Headlines, that Anba Morcos, Coptic Orthodox bishop of Shobra El-Kheima, locked the Pope Kerlis VI and Archdeacon Habib Gerges church to protect it from possible extremist attacks. This was done before the Nov. 17 worship services and upon the advise of the governor of Qalyubia.
Amir Aiad, a 42-year-old pharmacist, shared to Morning Star News, "We were not used to praying in this church regularly, but after we submitted all the legal papers and notified the authorities, we started opening the church and holding daily masses on Nov. 3. There were no objections, nothing happened. On the contrary, local Muslims stood on our side, supporting our right to build a church. I can't find a justification for what happened."
Coptic Christians, the biggest religious minority in Egypt, has been a hot target of extremists over the years. During the observance of the Holy Week last April, there were at least 27 casualties in the attack at St. George's Coptic Church in Tanta and 17 people were killed in St Mark's Coptic Church in Alexandria aside from more than a hundred cases of injuries.
Aside from this kind of persecution, there is a growing community of Christian converts, Muslim Background Believers, who are primarily targeted by their own families to the extent of pushing them out of their houses when they are confronted by how these Christians found life in Christ. This brutal condemnation of family members has been a heavy burden to Christians as they face discrimination and restrictive environment.