The Bishopric of Baylana and Dar as-Salam in the southern governorate of Sohag has called on Prime Minister Sherif Ismail to step in and put an end to the predicament of the Baylana Preparatory School. The school which was formerly known as the Ikhwan Botros (Botros Brothers) School, was decades back built by the Bishopric on land belonging to it. When Church-owned Coptic schools were among schools ‘nationalised’ in the 1960s, Ikhwan Botros was taken over by the Ministry of Education. In the 1990s, many of these schools were returned to the Church, but not the Balyana school. In 1993, the court ruled in favour of handing over the school to Balyana Bishopric but the Ministry never complied. Since then the case been in court in a series of appeals.
In its final court ruling on the case, the court set the date 20 August 2017 for the school to be handed over to the Bishopric of Baylana. However the handover never took place and, on 19 August 2017, the Minister of Education issued a decision to postpone the handover three years.
The Bishopric filed a complaint with the Prosecutor-General against Minister of Education Tareq Shawqy and Sohag Governor Ayman Abdel-Moneim for failing to execute the court ruling.
Ahmed Fawzy of the Mostaqbal Watan political party confirmed to Watani that the Bishopric has been facing excessive intransigence and procrastination on the part of the authorities for the last six years, especially while the Church is in possession of a court ruling in its favour and the Ministry of Education flatly refuses to honour the ruling for another three years.
Mr Fawzy said the Party will not turn its back on this flagrant violation, and intends to raise the question in parliament.
31 August 2017