A church in the name of Abu Maqar al-Kebir (St Macarius), in the north Cairo district of Shubral-Kheima, was the target of threats by a group of armed Salafi men yesterday
A church in the name of Abu Maqar al-Kebir (St Macarius), in the north Cairo district of Shubral-Kheima, was the target of threats by a group of armed Salafi men yesterday.
The Salafis surrounded the site of the church which is still under construction, and has all its legal papers in order. The church’s priest, Father Ayoub Zaki told Watani that the Salafis came armed with firearms and white weapons, and that many among the crowd were thugs well known in the district.
The angry crowd demanded that the plot of land should be confiscated and the church should not be built, and threatened to use the timber and other construction material stored on site to build a mosque there.
Abu-Maqar’s is licensed as a single-storey church and a four-floor service building. The construction work has been going on for some months, but now that the building is getting higher it has drawn the hostility of the Salafis, Fr Ayoub says. He told Watani that this is not the first such incident; twice in 2012 the site came under attack, with threats to burn the church and build a mosque instead.
“We called the police,” Fr Ayoub said, “but they only showed up two hours later. That was a few minutes after the Salafi crowd had left, as if there were some secret agreement between them. One of the Salafis hinted at that. The police did nothing at all to the attackers who included thugs most of whom are known to all in the neighbourhood and could be easily tracked down.”
Fr Zaki said that the police summoned him to the police station for questioning. “I refused to comply,” he said. “I told the police I would only go if they as much as gave orders to catch any of the assailants.”
26 February 2013
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