Islamic Sharia law forbids Christians to build new churches or repair old ones. And even in Mubarak’s “secular” Egypt, “no church can be constructed without a presidential decree,” while “mosques are not subject to the same regulation.” And many Muslims there obviously take this very seriously.
“Muslims battle Christians in Egypt,” by Noha el Hennawy for the LA Times, with thanks to Morgaan Sinclair:
CAIRO “” A group of Muslim men, angered by plans to enlarge a Coptic church, battled with Christians after Friday prayers, setting fire to several buildings and injuring at least 11 people, officials and witnesses said.
Attackers roamed through the village of Bamha, about 15 miles south of Cairo, carrying hatchets and fuel canisters, said a witness, Tarek Gabbas.
Muslims and Christians reportedly threw firebombs and bricks at each other, and at least 10 Christian houses and businesses were set ablaze before police restored order. Seventeen people from both faiths were arrested, Reuters news agency reported.
Under Egyptian law, no church can be constructed without a presidential decree. However, mosques are not subject to the same regulation, a fact cited by Egypt’s Coptic minority as evidence of discrimination….
Muslim villagers in Bamha, angered by the plans for expansion of the church amid rumors that the Christians did not have building permits, had been circulating leaflets, calling on residents to “defend the religion of Muhammad” by burning down Christian property in the village, said Gabbas, a Muslim.
He said some Muslims ran into the burning buildings to try to help trapped Christians.
“Not all Muslims there were happy with what was happening. There were Muslims who risked their lives while trying to rescue Copts,” Gabbas said.