A local district governor has barred a local church congregation from fixing their damaged roof despite promises to the contrary. The governor told the church that if they went ahead and built the roof, he would completely demolish the church building.
The saga surrounding the event began when the church’s roof collapsed and hurt many worshipers. Despite a strict Sharia law banning churches from making renovations but instead left to crumble over time, authorities gave the Christians permission to fix the roof.
However, things got ugly on Dec. 24 when a group of Muslim rioters arrived at the Church of the Virgin and Anba Samuel in Abis al-Thawra, a village on the outskirts of Alexandria, and began throwing stones at the church, worshipers, and the roof workers. The rioters also set fire to a farmhouse adjacent to the church.
The police responded at the scene and ended the rioting. However, authorities halted the renovations with a promise that work could resume shortly. The church got permission to continue work along with the added protection of state security forces on Dec. 25.
However, the governor turned up at the church that same day, inspected the work and decided that the construction must hurt. All efforts to persuade the governor fell on deaf ears.
When the Christians asked the governor, “How can we pray when the roof is in such a condition, especially when it’s raining?” The governor told them to cover the roof with a tarp.
The church is now facing financial loss after EGP 100,000, nearly $5,000.
According to Raymond Ibrahim, an expert in Islamic history and doctrine, the situation is a Muslim-style “good cop, bad cop” routine. Ibrahim said the real bad guys in the story are the Egyptian authorities.
“The authorities themselves are the ones against repairing this church.” Ibrahim wrote. “But they rely on the Muslim mob to riot, at which point they step in pretending to be the “good guys” who, nonetheless, need to do whatever is necessary — in this case, leave a church in a dilapidated and dangerous condition — to prevent violence and bloodshed from erupting again.”