March 8, 2012
A Coptic Christian priest in Egypt was sentenced to six months in jail for a minor construction violation at his church building, while no one in a mob that burned the same structure down has been arrested, Compass Direct News reports. Just days after a mob of 3,000 Muslim villagers -- angry at renovations taking place at Mar Gerges Church in Aswan -- burned down the church, the Rev. Makarious Bolous was issued a citation, saying the building was 2.5 meters taller than what local government officials had approved on a series of architectural drawings. Bolous said the ruling, coupled with the absence of prosecution against the mob who burned down the church, was clear evidence of a double standard between Christians and Muslims. The same villagers who burned down the building are now blocking the approval of permission to rebuild it, Bolous said. Despite government guarantees to fund and build a new church to replace the old one, the promises have so far proven empty. With Bolous imprisoned, approximately 40 Coptic families in the village are left without a priest or a church.