Report on a Fact-Finding Mission to Minya

Sent On: 
Wed, 2018-10-24
Newsletter Number: 

Meeting with H.G. Bishop Mercurios​


Egyptian media reported about the village of Dimshāw which has become a scene of tensions between Muslims and Christians, because Christians wanted to change a prayer house into a church building. It happens a lot that Christians in villages with no or insufficient church buildings meet for prayer in a house. Generally, Muslims in villages have no problem with this, bishop Macarios [Makāriyyūs] of Minya said. But as soon as Christians try to build a church with attributes as a church tower with a cross Muslims in villages often object to this since this is changing the image of the village.


The Egyptian media reporting about these tensions made the Egyptian Moral Rearmament Association (EMRA) ask the Center for Arab-West Understanding (CAWU) for assistance to meet with the Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Minya, the diocese to which Dimshāw belongs.


EMRA, belonging to the international network of Initiatives of Change, has Christian and Muslim members, and aims to strengthen “the national fabric in Egypt based on common shared human and moral values,” Dr. Nagia Abdelmoghney [Nājiyya ʿAbd al-Mughnī ] Said, vice president of EMRA, wrote in a report for Arab-West Report.


The relations between the Center for Arab-West Understanding and EMRA are old. CAWU has earlier helped the EMRA with a visit to Nagʿ Ḥammadī and a meeting with bishop Kyrillos[Kīrillus] in January 2011, after a deadly shooting at Christians in that city. This visit was days after the massacre at the Two Saints Church in Alexandria. Members of EMRA and CAWU have met on several occasions. Eng. Nagwa Raouf [Najwā Raʾūf] is both a founding member of EMRA and a board member of CAWU.


EMRA and CAWU first met with Bishop Marcos [Mārkūs] who spoke about the importance of the rule of law. Bishop Macarios spoke about Muslim-Christian relations in Minya and highlighted the importance of education, health care and shared emotions. Futile arguments send negative messages to extremists and should be avoided.


Meeting with H.G. Bishop Marcos


The report of Dr. Nagia Abdelmoghney Said provides an interesting insight in how the Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Minya views local Muslim-Christian relations. For reading Dr. Nagia’s text, please click here.


October 24, 2018


Cornelis Hulsman,

Editor-in-chief Arab-West Report