Created on Saturday, 27 December 2008 10:03
Written by Staff Editor
The Egyptian security authorities are again at work to support the fanatics who do not want the Copts to pray anywhere in Egypt. The same scenario is repeated all over again. Last month it was in Ain Shams, then Minya el Kamh, and today in Ameriya district, Alexandria, where the Copts there are crying out for help, as sectarian tension rise, and they fear the worst. A mob of nearly 1000 Muslims in the village of "Iraq" in Ameriya rallied and tried to attack the home of Mr. Ehab Hanna, a Copt who sold the land to the registered Coptic "Eslah" charity for the erection of a services centre, which holds a building permit since 2004.
Twelve people came to his house and tried to extract by force his signature on papers pledging the absence of any church in the village. He refused as they had no official capacity and explained to them that it was a services building and not a church. Outside were cars waiting holding nearly 1000 people, following announcements made in the nearby mosques by a person called Aly Sharaf who was employed by a member of the Egyptian People's Assembly, that the "Copts are building a Church". After many attempts to force him to sign the papers, the security forces arrived led by Deputy Director of Security, which caused the mob to flee. They questioned witnesses including Mr. Hanna who then escorted them to the Ameriya Police Station, where he presented them with all valid documents and permits, which proved the legality of the building, and was, released the following day. Two people from the Muslim mob were taken to the police station. The building was then closed by the security authorities, its locks changed and a guarding police unit was placed in front of it.
During the investigation with Mr. Ihab Hanna, the security authorities summoned an agricultural engineer - the Ministry of Agriculture is involved in the process of licensing - who issued a forged report that the building was in violation, despite the fact that it holds a license since 2004 from the former Governor of Alexandria, which, therefore, practically cancels out the obtained license. In his report, the agricultural engineer stated that he carried out an investigation with Mr. Ihab Hanna at 7 p.m. Astonishingly, Mr. Ihab Hanna at that time was at the Ameriya police station for questioning since 6.30 p.m. He also advised that he has never seen or spoken with this engineer. Despite the present calm conditions, the village Copts expressed fears of a repeat of the Koshh massacre, or of any attempts to inflame the Muslims, as they have received threats to burn their land and loot their property, in the event of any church being built. They also expressed concern that the authorities might remove the building. They are calling for caution on the part of the security authorities of any attempts to break out violence. There are 150 Coptic families living in the "Iraq" village, in Amereya, every family has a plot of land from 10 acres to 50 acres, as well as a number of livestock sheds. However, there are no churches in the area, and the nearest is nearly 50 km from the village!!! It is worth noting that the permit held is for the erection of a building for social as well as religious services.