Due to the difficulties Egypt’s Coptic Christians experience in trying to build—or even repair—churches in their homeland, some end up meeting in Coptic homes to worship (and often are attacked for it), while others worship out in the open.
This was the case for the Christians of Nag Shenouda, in Sohag City. For 44 years they have been trying to build a church to congregate in. After decades they finally got some permits.
But then the next obstacle presented itself—the Muslim populace itself refused to allow the Copts to build a church (in direct accord with Islamic law) and even burned down the tent the Christians had erected to worship under (different incident from this similar one).
Denied, the Christians of Nag Shenouda celebrated Easter last week in the street (see picture above).
Previously, the area’s Christians used to pray in a dilapidated old house. The area’s Muslims would not even allow the Copts to repair the building’s roof to protect them from rain. The dilapidated building was eventually removed before collapsing on the worshippers.
It should be noted that, as a gesture of goodwill, the Copts had earlier donated a piece of land to the local Muslims to build a mosque—under the belief that such goodwill would be reciprocated. The mosque was soon erected, even as the Christians wait in vain for a church.