SHOBRA EL-KHEIMA, Egypt — Fear of Islamist attacks was again cited as the cause of stopping worship in Egypt recently, even though parishioners said local Muslims supported the opening of the shuttered church outside Cairo, sources said.
Anba Morcos, Coptic Orthodox bishop of Shobra El-Kheima, decided to close the Pope Kerlis VI and Archdeacon Habib Gerges church before Nov. 17 services after consulting with the governor of Qalyubia, who had warned of possible Islamist attacks, according to Egyptian newspaper Almasry Alyoum.
After Friday mosque attendance on Nov. 17, Muslim families gathered outside the closed church building to show their support for it, Amir Aiad, a 42-year-old Christian in the area, said.
The church building had been rarely used since construction was completed in 2015 as it took two years to meet all legal obligations for opening, Aiad added. But when it opened in early November, it served around 1,000 Coptic Christian families.
Other reports indicate at least four other Egyptian churches have been closed in recent weeks and that there have been attacks on churches and
Coptic believers. Egypt is ranked 21st on Christian support organization Open Doors 2017 World Watch List of the countries where is it is most difficult to be a Christian. (MS)