Egypt tightens church security ahead of Easter

| April 2, 2010

Cairo: Egyptian authorities have tightened security outside churches, especially in Upper Egypt, ahead of the Coptic Easter celebrations on Sunday.

The measure comes almost two months after an attack by three suspected Muslims against church-goers in the southern Egyptian town of Nagaa Hamadi, left six Coptic Christians and one Muslim guard dead.

The suspects are currently on trial at a state security court.

“People who wish to enter churches will have to show their IDs,” said an official at a Cairo church.

“Guards will also check the characteristic emblem of the cross stamped on the right hand before allowing worshippers to attend church celebrations,” added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Copts, the largest Christian community in the Middle East, account for an estimated 10 million of Egypt’s 80 million population.

Christian-Muslim relations in Egypt are usually good.

But over recent years, sectarian tensions have erupted in this predominantly Muslim nation due to disputes over religious conversions and places of worship.

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Category: Church Security