Following an Egyptian town council’s order last week to demolish a makeshift memorial for the 28 Copts murdered on Ascension Day last year as they travelled towards a monastery, the governor of Minya has met with a delegation of monks from the monastery to discuss the matter.
The memorial was erected on the spot where the Copts’ buses had been attacked en route to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor, but it was set up without official permission, leading Al-Edwa town council to issue a demolition order.
However, Minya governor Essam al-Bedeiwi intervened and prevented the demolition until he could discuss the matter with the monastery and the town council.
Governor Bedeiwi explained to the monks that Al-Edwa town council had issued the demolition order because no official permit had been obtained, Coptic news site Watani reports. He then suggested that a new memorial be built within the monastery walls “to facilitate its security and that of its visitors”.
The memorial erected on the site of the incident was made out of white bricks and contains two crosses and a plaque showing the names of the victims.
But the monks have requested that instead of a new memorial, a church be built to commemorate the victims – as happened in Al-Our last week in remembrance of the 21 Christians killed by the Islamic State group on a beach in Libya three years ago.
The governor promised the new church application “would be studied by the relevant authorities and responded to according to the relevant regulations and procedures”.
Bedeiwi told the monks that the governorate was planning to pave the 23km road leading to the monastery. An estimated budget of 30 million Egyptian Pounds (US$1.7 million) has been allocated for it.