International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on Sunday, August 20, police in Ezbat Al-Forn, located in Egypt’s Minya governorate, prevented local Christians from accessing a building they were using to hold Sunday worship. Father Botros Azeez, the priest who travels to Ezbat Al-Forn on a weekly basis to officiate Sunday worship, was also kept off the church premises by security forces who cordoned off the area.
“On Sunday morning, at 6:00 a.m., we were surprised when we found that security forces were cordoning the area and surrounding our church and prevented us from entering it,” Karam Fawzy, a Christian resident of Ezbat Al-Forn, told ICC. “When we stood in the street chanting, ‘Kyrie Eleison’ (Lord have mercy), the police dispersed us by force and arrested some of us. They also prevented Father Botros Azeez, our church’s priest, from entering the village.“
World Watch Monitor has reported, Copts have experienced similar challenges in the villages of Kom El-Loufy, El-Galaa, and also in Saft el-Khirsa – a town of around 12,000, including approximately 70 Christian families, which has ten mosques but no church.