Death Fatwa Against Egyptian Priest for Seeking to Open Prayer Hall

Tue, Aug. 18 2009 04:37 PM EDT

Muslim village elders in Minia Governorate in Egypt have issued a death fatwa (ruling) against a Coptic priest Father Estefanos Shehata for requesting them to allow converting part of his family home to a prayer hall.

Read the rest here:

Egypt: Death Fatwa against Priest for Wanting to Open a Prayer Hall

And read the rest here:

God strengthen Fr. Estaphanos and his faithful flock!

Many years!


Reading the articles, it seems he built the hall and THEN went to get the permits to use it as a service centre. I wonder if that’s what annoyed the muslim elders - as he says until that point they always enjoyed good relations.

Maybe the village elders saw the way he went about things as back to front and took it as him presuming on their permission, which they in turn took as an affront to their authority.

Maybe he should have asked first before building.

I dont know.

I hope God blesses him and his christian community and that the situation can be resolved without bloodshed and he can get to return to his village.

What bothers me particularly about this story is this statement:

“I know we are not allowed to have a proper church in Egypt, but until now I pray for the dead and hold marriage ceremonies in the street.”

What would happen if Muslims were denied the ability to build a mosque in an area that currently did not have one? I’m sure that would be considered a “threat against Islam” or the people would be viewed as “hostile to Islam” and subject to be killed?

And, where are all the “peacful” Muslims who abhor oppression of anyone and who have a duty to see that everyone is treated fairly? Why aren’t all the Muslim countries around there coming to the defense of these Christians? :frowning: :mad:

It indeed says something that in general in Islamic countries Christianity is severely restricted and persecuted out of fear WHEREAS in most Western countries there is freedom of religion (not to say there is not prejudice). I get the feeling that Islam is afraid that it cannot compete in the market place of ideas. So it converts and keeps people by intimidation.

On top of that Islam has been its own worst enemy as Muslim murders Muslim in Iraq and Afganistan not to mention the homicide bombing of men, women and children elsewhere.

Pope Benedict was correct that Islam needs to deal with these issues.

*I realize there are many Muslims who represent their faith well and who are not involved in these atrocities but the worst enemy of Islam is Islam. More Muslim leaders (religious and otherwise) will need to speak out, report on and hinder these terrorist groups that are dragging the name of Islam through the mud.

i’m so glad that our President just met with the current President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak.

**i am sure Obama made it clear that the persecution of Christians is unacceptable!
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!


please provide an Egyptian Islamic source for this story

I echo hadis request.
Funny how christians replied to my thread on israelis stealing organs saying that my source is anti-israel and so on but then they turn around and do something even worse in that regard! Using two anti-muslim christian websites-what a joke! Haha…hypocrites! :smiley:


It sounds like things could perhaps have been better handled by the Christians involved, but Egypt has had problems for a while. We should all pray that they manage to work out things peacefully. Certainly death seems out of proportion to the supposed crime in every way.

I think we need to realize though that many Muslim countries see a different relationship between religion and government than we do in the West. They do not see that it is possible for individuals to separate the two - we cannot separate our religion and our politics, we are unified individuals. Thus, religion is part of the state itself, and the tolerance of non-state sanctioned religious activity is restricted. It is, in many ways, a very consistent position.

The West has taken a different rout, I think a better one. However, we still have difficulty balancing religion and politics. One can see this difficulty among Catholics often. For example, the state says it can not restrict homosexual marriage on religious grounds, whereas the Catholic Church argues it should. How to balance secularism against truth, pluralistic views against morality, government and freedom of religion. Some Christians in the US would even like to see Christianity of some type made the official religion.

So I am not sure we should be too high and mighty about how stupid or wrong their way of thinking is, or high and mighty about how enlightened we are. The Muslims who are part of those communities tend to think religion and state are a unity - not a bizarre point of view. Muslims in the West usually have a different, Western view of government. Since they are different people, it does not mean that Muslims are looking to have it both ways.

BUUZZZZZ Wrong again.

On your thread it was pointed out that the U.N. is anti-Israel which any rational person with eyes and ears already knows.

The mere fact that the man cannot hold church services where he likes in Egypt speaks volumes to the true nature of Islam, that of hatred of all things of God.

I searched many Egyptians newspapers on line to find this story but could not.

And I also used every Egyptian newspapers “search” criteria to search for “copt” and “Minia” or “Minya” and found nothing.

How can searching for the word “Copt” in an Egyptian news sites yield no results…? :shrug: Just a few old stories from way back when and that’s it.

The story I posted, I linked two sources, none of them are Egyptian.

The story however is found on many sites on the net, but they are all Christian sites.

That’s the best I can do - take the posting or leave it.

We all know that the Copts don’t have it easy in Egypt. Nothing new.

Thank you for your time searching for this article…but I know that you will bring similar stories in the future …so next time please provide an Islamic source or at least a neutral source…sometimes people exagerate or hide the full story…

here are some I gathered from Egyptian sources (in Arabic) regarding this story

Source 1 (from a blog)

It says that the village had no Church , and when they went to Mass they either go to another village or gather near one home…but this time , they were celebrating the Mass besides a Mosque and that enraged some prayers of the Mosque.

Source 2 (Almasry alyaom newspaper)
it says the Mayor of the village put (7 Muslims and 9 Christians) in custody…Police is now protecting the priest’s home… 5 injured Muslims were released from the hospital…the police officer says the Christians have a place (community center) for celebration but the priest’s complained that it was far (7 km) and does not have much space in it.

Sorry , but “Death Fataw” thing seems fabricated…

Just a tangential question: who gets to pronounce a fatwa and in what circumstances? We’ve all heard about the Ayatollah Khomeni’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie, but I’ve never heard of it happening on a local level as is alleged in the article Jakasaki posted.

the article posted suggested that common people in an Egyptian village issued a Fatawa :confused: issuing a Fataw is reserved only for scholars who have deep study and knowledge about many aspects of Fig’h (Islamic law) … probably similar to issuing a Halacha in the Jewish law…

also, one thing is important in issuing a fatwa, if you asked a scholar in Islamic law (fageeh) for a fatawa regarding a personal issue , he may issued it for you… but if the issue concerns the public , not one fageeh , but a group of fugaha have to sit and discuss and then issue a ruling…

also sometimes fatawas become invalid over time , if the circumstances have changed…
for instance… a group o fageeh issued a fatawa ruling that dealing with this Bank is Haram , but later the Bank has changed its policies and then a new fataw issued ruling that dealing with this bank is (Ja’iz) permissible…

there is alot to say ,Shia vs Sunni fataws , Sunni schools of Fig’h (Hanbali , Shaafi , Malki and Hanifi ) … btw, it’s common to read a fatwa stating that this is Haram (according to Malki) but accoding to Shaafi , it’s Makrooh…so at the end, the reader has to judge which one he should follow…

please excuse my messy writing style…it becomes confusing sometimes…

Is this the newsite you are talking about?

المصرى اليوم
إصدار إنترنت من الصحيفة اليومية المستقلة … البث التجريبي لموقع المصري اليوم الجديد … أدلى الرئيس حسنى مبارك بحديث لقناة “بى.بى.إس” الأمريكية، تناول مختلف القضايا … - 66k - Cached
حوادث و قضايا
رسالة من المحرر
قضايا ساخنـــــة
أتصل بنا

It’s all in Arabic but there is an English tab that works but only has a few news stories and they stop as of Sept 2008

Like I said, take the story or leave it. The article states:

Muslim village elders in Minia Governorate in Egypt have issued a death fatwa (ruling) against a Coptic priest Father Estefanos Shehata for requesting them to allow converting part of his family home to a prayer hall.

Again, we all know how the Copts are treated in Egypt.

From AlmasryAlyaom (in Arabic) Aug 19,2009

The Grand Mufti of Egypt Mohammed Said Tantawi says that a Muslim can contribute to building a Church , it’s Jai’z (permissible) in Islamic Shareeia’h. He also stresses the punishment on those who attack places of worship or attack worshipers. He also says that he has nothing against churches,in fact he wishes building a Church and a Mosque in every street…and when he was asked about a proposed project of unified houses of worship… he says Al-Azhar has nothing against it…he says if one has asked me regarding some theological issues of my Coptic brother, I would say that they (the Copts) are the ones more knowledgeable… and building churches is something of a priority to them…he then states that a Muslim can write in his will a contribution that goes to building Churches , but it’s Hararm for him to contribute to building nightclubs and wine factories…
he was asked regarding an *alleged *fataw that came from the Fatwa office, which states that a Muslims is not allowed to contribute to a Church … he says this fatwa was already declared as fabricated and no one should take it since it does not have his seal on it…and he says that those who issued it must be prosecuted…he concluded his speech in saying that the theological differences between the Christians and Muslims should not stop them from working together and every human has his own Ageedah and only Allah will judge them…and there is no difference between Muslims and Christians when it comes to rights and responsibilities.

note : that was my own translation of this Arabic source

Thank you for the translation -

I did visit that site earlier and when I clicked on the English version there was no such story.

Nowhere in the news article I posted said anything about “not allowed to contribute to a chuch” as per your translation.

What “fatwa” is this man talking about, there is no mention of the Coptic Fathers name, no mention of the town, no mention of allowing the Priest to convert his home into a preaching hall… and such.

This translated articles does not look right, … - but thanks - I stick and support my posting.

Unless someone posts something that the story of that United has put out is “false, fabricated and it was created to decieve” people, I’d like to see it and I will gracefully back out.

No need to apologize; your post was very clear.

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