Minya (Agenzia Fides) - It took little more than a year to build the second church in the village of Ismailia, in the Egyptian province of Minya. The Christian place of worship was also built in a short space of time thanks to the financial contribution of the local Muslim population.
The inauguration of the new church, dedicated to St. George and the Virgin Mary, took place last week with the festive participation of many villagers, Christians and Muslims. In his speech, Mayor Ibrahim presented the construction of the church as a visible and concrete sign for strengthening national harmony.
In the village area of Ismailia there are about 20,000 Egyptians, one third are Christian Copts and two-thirds are Sunni Muslims. The decision to build a second church was taken little more than a year ago to avoid Christian residents from moving too far from their homes to take part in liturgies, exposing themselves to the risk of aggression and abduction.
The "reconciliation committee" of the village of Ismailia, in charge of preventing or solving sectarian conflicts, had approved the construction of the new Coptic Church in March 2016, establishing the area to be used for the construction of the place of worship. During the assembly of the committee, members of the organization, largely Muslims, had cast their votes on the eventual construction of the church and the location chosen. And the proposal obtained 49 votes in favor and only 4 against. The almost unanimous consent to the construction of the Coptic Church was welcomed by local Christian communities in an area marked by past episodes of sectarian intolerance. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 16/5/2016)