Egyptians Unite to Repair Houses of Worship
Coptic Church, Shubra El-Kheima
Deacon Michael Habib spoke with sadness about the damage his church in al-Minya province sustained in an attack by a group of armed men in July.
“The aim of this church is, and always has been, to serve the neighbouring villages,” he said. “We had nothing to do with politics and were in fact loved and respected by everyone, so why was the church attacked and burned?”
Over the past four months, about 70 Coptic churches and church buildings have been burned and attacked, according to government statistics. A number of mosques also have been attacked, mainly following the dispersal of the Rabea al-Adawiyah and al-Nahda sit-ins in August.
This prompted Beit el-Aela el-Misriyah, a non-governmental organisation, to launch an initiative to renovate houses of worship damaged in recent acts of violence with support from the government, Al-Azhar, the Coptic Church and private individuals and businesses.
The initiative, launched October 31st, aims to promote tolerance and encourages all Egyptians to help repair damaged houses of worship, the organisation said. […]
‘All Egyptians are brothers’
“The initiative essentially aims to affirm that all Egyptians are brothers in every way, that protecting houses of worship is the responsibility of every Egyptian, and that when a Muslim or Christian house of worship is attacked, all members of both sects participate in renovating it,” said Mahmoud Azab, Beit el-Aela co-ordinator and adviser to Sheikh of Al-Azhar on dialogue.
Accounts have been opened at all Egyptian banks to receive donations, Azab told Al-Shorfa. A number of companies and businessmen have already announced they will make sizable donations, and renovation projects will soon kick off with help from the armed forces, he said.
Beit el-Aela el-Misriyah was co-founded by Al-Azhar and the Coptic Church in Egypt in November 2011, and aims to “preserve Egypt’s social fabric in co-ordination with all relevant government bodies and ministries”, Azab said. […]