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Minya Copts stage "protest fast" against church-building restrictions

By-Amr Bayoumi-Almasry Alyoum | 27 October 2009

Coptic Church officials in the town of Maghagha in the Middle Egyptian province of Minya began a three-day fast on Monday in hopes of drawing attention to longstanding grievances with "certain state authorities." These state authorities, they say, refuse to grant them permission to renovate or enlarge local churches.

"We have no one left to complain to but God himself," said local Coptic Reverend Fangari. "The authorities won't even allow us to repair the restrooms."

"They don't even give permits for Copts to build houses, lest they be converted into churches," Fangari added.

Last month, authorities demolished a building belonging to Coptic resident Khamis Nashed, claiming that he planned to turn it into a chapel.   

According to local Coptic Bishop Aghathon, churches in the area will hold daily prayers for divine assistance in resolving the problem. Aghathon called on all Copts to attend these masses.

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