Jihad Watch | Most recently, the Virgin Mary and Pope Kyrillos VI Church in Beni Meinin, Beni Suef Governorate, was attacked on 14 April, the same day as a visit by the Building Authority Committee who came to inspect the building in preparation for legalising its church status.
The church’s 700 Coptic members, who had used the building as a church for 10 years, had also applied for the building to be expanded.
Local sources told World Watch Monitor that Muslim villagers had heard about the morning inspection and then, at about 7pm, attacked the church and some nearby Coptic homes.
“Many Muslim young men from our village and villages nearby gathered in front of the church building and began pelting it with stones and bricks while shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ [Allah is the greatest], and ‘We don’t want a church in our village’,” said Medhat Halim, a resident in the village.
“Windows and a door were smashed and some of the church’s contents destroyed. They also pelted Coptic-owned houses next to the building. Five Copts received minor injuries.”
Security forces arrived at the village an hour later and arrested 20 Muslims and 12 Christians. Some were released the next morning but 11 Muslims and nine Christians were later charged with “gathering” (illegal for more than 10 people under 2016’s demonstration laws) and the possession of unlicensed arms, and were jailed for four days, later extended to 15 days.
More Coptic homes were attacked two days later (16 April), despite the presence of security forces in the village.