Twelve years after their previous church was closed, the Coptic community in the Egyptian village of Kom El-Loufy, 250km south of Cairo, is celebrating as a new church is built.
Last month, with the agreement of local Muslims, the Copts started digging the foundations on a piece of land 700 metres outside the village.
“Thank God so much for this new location and that all parties have now agreed” said Fr Feltaws Ibrahim, priest of Saint Abu Sefein Coptic Orthodox church in the nearby village of Ezzbet Rafla, who hosted the 1600 Copts from Kom El-Loufy while they were without a building.
Ever since their previous building was closed, the Coptic community in Kom El-Loufy has experienced fierce opposition from their Muslim neighbours. Some locals set fire to four Coptic homes in July 2016, suspecting that a newly built house would be turned into a church. It wasn’t until the very end of 2017 when the Copts finally withdrew their complaint against the arson in exchange for permission to build a church.
With the building of the church and the charges dropped, it seems that years of struggle for the Copts in the village may have come an end.
Copts in other villages, such as Ezbat Al-Forn, El-Galaa and Saft el-Khirsa, have faced similar troubles.
In recent years it has been almost impossible for Christians to obtain a licence to build a church in Egypt. However, last year Egypt’s parliament finally approved a new law relating to the building and renovating of churches, and in October a cabinet committee met to start work on the legalisation of unlicensed churches.
Source: World Watch Monitor
- Praise God for this new opportunity for the believers of Kom El-Loufy. Pray the believers will be greatly encouraged in their faith by this development.
- Pray this church will be used by the Lord to be a beacon of light to the community.
- Pray many Muslims in this village and surrounding areas may have an opportunity to hear the Gospel and put their trust in the Lord.
An Egyptian Copt, Bishoy Kameel Garas, has been declared ‘innocent’ after he spent more than half his 6-year sentence for charges including defamation of Islam, the Cairo Court of Cassation has ruled.
Garas, now in his late twenties, was jailed in September 2012 for offending the country’s dominant religion, the then-Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, and a Muslim sheikh’s sister. The charges related to Facebook posts found on a fake page opened in his name.
On 25 July 2015, Cairo’s senior court had ruled against the prison sentence, but it took Garas until 9 October 2015 to be released.
Despite mounting evidence weighing on the side of his acquittal, the prosecution and two lower courts insisted on condemning the Christian, until the higher court finally declared him innocent on 12 March 2016.
As with other blasphemy cases levelled against Christians and seculars, the proceedings were bedevilled by mob pressure and judicial religious prejudice. Coptic activists insist the proceedings were a travesty from the beginning.
Garas, a teacher of English, had posted warnings on his own Facebook page about the fake account and alerted cyber police. Still, he was sentenced despite claims of a named hacker and cyber investigation reports attesting to his innocence.
Source: World Watch Monitor
- Thank the Lord that Garas has finally been vindicated. Pray for him as he continues to overcome this past trial.
- Pray this case may be used as an example of the unjust bias of the legal system in Egypt; pray the laws will be examined and improved. Pray others imprisoned unjustly will be released and exonerated.
- Ask the Lord to strengthen Garas in his faith; pray his testimony may be used by the Lord to strengthen other believers and make them bold in following Him.
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