A number of Salafis trespassed onto a plot of land owned by the Shubra al-Kheima archdiocese Monday and turned it into a mosque, Bishop Morcos of Shubra told ONA news agency on Tuesday.
The bishop told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the police failed to protect a building and the land belonging to the archdiocese from Salafis who stormed it and performed the morning and evening prayers there, and that the police only showed up the next day.
“They placed a sign on the building saying, ‘Ebad al-Rahman Mosque,’” Bishop Morcos said. “It was not removed, even after they left.” He also said he stopped a number of young Coptic men from clashing with the Salafis so as to avoid trouble.
Father Armia Adly, deputy of the Shubra al-Kheima archdiocese, told Al-Masry Al-Youm the archdiocese is fully licensed.
The Maspero Youth Union denounced the incident in a statement. “It is a harbinger of imminent danger, being the first time in Egypt’s history when a religious site is stormed and turned into a mosque,” the statement said.
The statement linked the raid to other assaults on Christian places of worship. “Jungle law has replaced the rule of law. Assaults on Christians and their churches are not part of the ‘Renaissance state,’” the group said.
The union demanded that President Mohamed Morsy to intervene to protect Copts, stressing that the group continues to press for full citizenship rights through peaceful and legal means.