Authorities ordered 15 more days of jail for Christians arrested on Aug. 22 in Egypt for worshipping in a house without a permit, rights activists said.
After Muslim mobs demonstrated against the Virgin Mary and St. Mahrael church in Luxor Governorate, 435 miles south of Cairo, police accused five Coptic Catholics of worshipping without a permit, according to Coptic rights activist Safwat Samaan.
Police closed the church in Al-Zeneeqa village, in Esna, which has been holding worship services at the site for 18 years, according to Samaan. Five Muslims were also arrested, with another 10 arrested on Aug. 24 as they prepared another demonstration against the church, according to U.S.-based Catholic publications The Tablet.
The Copts were arrested even though they did not take any action against the demonstrators, the Catholic outlet reported. Besides charging the Christians with worshipping in an unlicensed venue, they charged them and the Muslims with illegal gathering, disrupting public peace and inciting sectarian strife, according to local media.
The church was the third one in Luxor closed in four months after Muslim extremists protested their existence, giving police the pretext of “security” threats for shuttering them. Hundreds of churches have submitted applications for legalization under a law passed on Sept. 28, 2016 regulating church construction, with little hope of obtaining licenses soon.
In the past 11 months, authorities approved only 220 of the 3,730 church and other ministry buildings that have applied, Watani newspaper reported on Aug. 26. Many churches have already waited 15 years for decisions on their applications for permits, and at the current rate, it will take 17 years to obtain decisions on applications from “unofficial” churches, according to Watani.
Human Rights Watch has described the 2016 law’s restrictions over construction and renovation of church buildings discriminating against Christians.
“The new law empowers provincial governors to approve church building and renovation permits, previously the domain of security services,” The Tablet reported. “However, it grants a governor the right to deny a building or renovation permit on security and public safety grounds, which allows mob violence to dictate the matter. Usually, such mob attacks serve as a pretext for closing the church, especially in upper Egypt where perpetrators act with impunity.”
In Beni Suef Governorate, a member of the security forces responsible for protecting St. George Church in Zaytoun village, some 75 miles south of Cairo, on Aug. 25 charged into their building and shouted, “You are infidels …All of you are infidels,” the Catholic outlet reported….
Peace and tolerance, they say. I suppose that only counts when you’re dead. Then Muslims are peaceful and tolerant to you being in the grave. They certainly practice the polar opposite of peace and tolerance in the real world, and here’s yet another example.
An Egyptian Muslim lawyer has sparked outrage after telling a national television audience it is his “patriotic and national duty” to harass and rape young girls who wear revealing clothes including ripped jeans.
“Are you happy when you see a girl walking down the street with half of her behind showing? I say that when a girl walks about like that, it is a patriotic duty to sexually harass her and a national duty to rape her.”
The shock remarks came in a panel show broadcast on Al-Assema during a debate over a draft law on prostitution and sparked outrage across the country. Egypt’s National Council for Women now plans to file a complaint against the lawyer and the TV channel reports Breitbart.
The council also urged media outlets not to host controversial figures who make remarks that incite violence against women.
The furore follows last month’s revelation that Cairo is the world’s most dangerous megacity for women, and has become more perilous since the 2011 uprisings.
France 24 reports that Cairo came in last of 19 megacities for its ability to protect women from harassment and rape on its streets.
A study conducted by the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights in 2008 found that 83 percent of women said they’d been sexually harassed, many of them daily, and 62 percent of men admitted to harassing women; advocates believe the percentage of women harassed is significantly higher.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
September 9th, 2018