Around 3000 Christians gathered Friday at the Virgin Mary and Father Kyrillos Churches in Ezbet el-Nakhl to mark the tenth anniversary of sectarian clashes in the village of el-Kosheh, which left 20 Christians and one Muslim dead. The vigil also came 40 days after the Christmas Eve shootings in Naga Hammadi.
Around 1000 choristers of different ages wore black T-shirts with the words "The Coptic Regiment" in Old Coptic and a drawing of the Paranoiac key of life. The choristers sang funerary hymns, while a choir of hearing and speech-impaired persons translated into sign language. Participants also hung signs demanding a unified law for the building of houses of worship.
The gathering ended with a funerary procession in which the deacons and choir carried pictures of the Naga Hammadi and el-Kosheh victims. Participants in the commemoration also signed a petition to eliminate religion lessons in schools. They hope to collect 10,000 signatures before submitting the petition to the education minister and the People’s Assembly.
Archpriest Metias Nasr of the Virgin Mary Church, who is also the editor-in-chief of an online Coptic newspaper, said the evening celebration was the least that could be done to honor "the martyrs who lost their lives to oppression and terrorism."
Participants also requested that a search be conducted for missing Christian women and prayed for Priest Mataous Abbas Wahba, who is in prison for allegedly using falsified documents to help a Muslim woman marry a Christian man.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.