Of course, the Muslims are only behaving according to the rules of Islam. As for fixing — let alone building — churches, the second “righteous caliph,” Omar, clearly addressed this in his famous pact, which governs relationships between Muslims and the “people of the book,” Christians and Jews: “We shall not build, in our cities or in their neighborhood, new monasteries, Churches, convents, or monks’ cells, nor shall we repair, by day or by night, such of them as fall in ruins or are situated in the quarters of the Muslims.”
“Egypt police prevent Copts from repairing church: rights group,” from AFP, August 25:
CAIRO (AFP) “” Egyptian police used violence earlier this month to prevent villagers from repairing the only church in their area, a rights group said on Monday, warning of a rise in sectarian tension as a result.
On August 17, “a policeman assigned to guard the Archangel Michael Church in Deshasha (Beni Soueif province south of Cairo) hit three women while they were taking sand into the church to fix the floor which was cracked as result of water collection underneath,” the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) said in a statement.
After the incident rumours spread in the village that Copts had locked up the policeman inside the church, beat him up and tore his clothes, leading to the brief arrests of several Copts and to threats of retaliation from Muslim villagers, the group said.[…]
In other words, after abusing the Copts, the Muslim authorities were quick to put out a rumor that in fact the Copts are behaving violently, and thus the former have no choice but to reciprocate. Typical Muslim ruse where Christian minorities are concerned.
In Sunni Muslim-dominated Egypt, the law allows the repair of churches without a prior permit but church officials must give written notice to the provincial authorities, the EIPR said.
Mind you, permits and notices are required of Copts simply to fix their dilapidated churches.
But according to officials from the Archangel Michael Church, the state security intelligence has prevented repair from being carried out at the church for the past 11 years.
And even after the permits and notices, it’s still not good enough.
Clerics said the church is the oldest in the region, was built in 1895. It was last renovated in 1930 and serves 100 Christian families in the Deshasha village.
“The Archangel Michael Church in Deshasha is but one example of the futility of any efforts to reform and unify construction and renovation laws for places of worship so long as security agents continue to violate existing laws in a discriminatory manner and with complete impunity,” EIPR said.
Egypt’s Copts — the largest Christian community in the Middle East — account for an estimated six to 10 percent of the country’s 76 million inhabitants and complain of systematic discrimination and harassment.