By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
CAIRO, EGYPT (Worthy News)-- A Muslim mob in the village of Ezbet Marco surrounded its only Coptic Church Sunday morning, barring Copts from neighboring villages from entering.
But as the only church in the area, it's hard for Copts to pray elsewhere.
As the mob maintained its blockade, two Copts received fractured limbs in the ensuing scuffle; Police later surrounded the church and diffused the situation by arresting some of the mob.
“During Ramadan, priests and Copts from Ezbet Marco were asked to not allow Copts from outside the village to pray in the church because the Muslims in the area believe they dress inappropriately,” said Ishak Ibrahim, a journalist at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. "This is not only a problem in this village: It is a big problem across Egypt."
Two months ago in the Al-Amareya district of Alexandria, Muslim mobs also demanded that the local church refuse to receive Christians from outside the village.
“What can the people do,” Ibrahim said. “They don’t have (a) church in their area and therefore must go to nearby villages that do have one.”
According to Ibrahim, the Egyptian government maintains that there are not enough Christians to justify the construction of new churches in every village, so Copts must travel to neighboring villages with churches.
Although mosques may be built anywhere, Copts need written permission from the Egyptian government before they can build a church, but these requests are often met with rejection.