Several Coptic Christian leaders and priests recently discussed the closures of their churches. For example, Fr. Stephen Shehata, undersecretary of the diocese of Samalout, Minya, explained how three of the diocese’s churches were shut down because they did not have the required licenses.
When the diocese recently attempted to build a church in Abu Hannas, 10 Christians trying to erect a fence around the space for the new church were arrested by police.
In response, Fr. Shehata said the area’s Christians, who are in need of a church, attempted to build a church building without the proper permits, “not because the church did not apply for the permits. Alas, the church submitted numerous requests—to no avail. And the reason is that the extremists reject having a church in the village.”