Second Coptic Church Burned in Egypt

Cairo – For the 2nd time in less than a month, a Coptic church in Egypt has been destroyed by fire.

A Coptic church in the town of Kafr el Sheij was burned last week. Dozens of firefighters were required to bring the blaze under control, the Al Ahram newspaper reports. Three weeks earlier another church had burned under suspicious circumstances.

In the absence of a clear explanation for the fires, Church officials have avoided claims that the churches have been destroyed by arson. But the incidents have raised fears among members of Egypt’s religious minority. The Coptic Christians who comprise about 8% of Egypt’s population have been subjected to occasional violence and persistent threats by Islamic militants.

Some more information on this fire:

Boutros Boutros, the deputy bishop of the archdiocese of Kafr el Sheikh, Dameyetta and the St Demiana monastery, said the fire was caused by an electrical fault. He said Muslims in the area were among the first to help extinguish the flames before the fire engines arrived, dismissing any speculation that the fire was the result of recent sectarian tensions between Muslims and Coptic Christians.

“There is no sectarian tension in Sakha, only constant love,” said Thimosaois Yanni, a Coptic Christian priest, who, like most Copts, has a small green tattoo on his wrist.

This was the first fire at the church since its establishment. There are no fire alarms in the building, although officials are now considering installing one.

Gen Ahmed Abdeen, the governor of Kafr el Sheikh, promised to extend all help, including sending a delegation of experts to see how the church could be restored.

“The man [the governor] is trying to treat our bleeding wound,” said Gamal Gerges, an official with the church. “We have to be thankful.”

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