Magazine article The Christian Century

Egypt's Christians, Attacked for Supporting Coup Leader, Await Rebuilding

Magazine article The Christian Century

Egypt's Christians, Attacked for Supporting Coup Leader, Await Rebuilding

Article excerpt

At the Amir Tadros Church in Minya, worshipers pray in what amounts to a building site. Nestled among the scaffolding, a bright blue sign proclaims that work will be completed by June. This past June.

The church in this Upper Egyptian city of a quarter million people, home to one of the largest concentrations of Egypt's Coptic Christian minority, was one of dozens of Christian properties and places of worship destroyed across Egypt on August 14, 2013.

In Minya, mobs chanting Islamist slogans led the charge, looting and burning in response to a state-led massacre unfolding 150 miles away in Cairo, where Muslim Brotherhood-backed demonstrators were protesting the military coup that overthrew the democratically elected Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi.

Egypt's Christian community, about 10 percent of the country's 84 million people, usually defers to the authority of the leader of the day, wary of marginalizing itself further. But the Coptic Church, representing the majority of Egypt's Christians, threw its weight behind Morsi's overthrow. Pope Tadros even stood behind Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, then the army chief and now president, as he announced the military's takeover in a televised address.

By sunrise that August 15, the Amir Tadros Church had been reduced to four scorched walls, encasing only rubble and ash. Although Egypt's army has promised to rebuild this and other churches, there's been little progress. By some estimates, only 10 percent of the work has been completed nationwide.

In recent comments to state media, Bishop Makarios of Minya has affirmed that the rebuilding is ongoing and asked for more security around church buildings. Calls to the Egyptian Defense Ministry elicited no response.

A walk through downtown Minya reveals the haphazard nature of the rebuilding plan. On one street stands a Christian-owned orphanage, its grounds and interior still gutted. Up the road, children's laughter echoes from the playground of the newly rebuilt Sisters of St. Joseph school.

"There's no transparency," said Nady Khalil, general coordinator at a Catholic development organization in Minya. "From time to time we hear the army will rebuild something else, but no one explains when it will happen or how it will be funded."

Privately owned Christian properties are faring better. Most have been rebuilt with local money. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.