A local court in Atfih on Wednesday (31 January) handed down only a suspended sentence to a Muslim mob who attacked an unlicensed church while the Christian owner of the building was fined the equivalent of more than US $20,000 for allowing meetings there.
The court gave 15 Muslim defendants one-year suspended sentences for attacking a church in the village of Kafr al-Waslin, near Giza, on 22 December.
The attackers destroyed the interior of the place where Christians were meeting and assaulted members of the congregation. Although the church is not officially licenced, believers had been gathering there to pray for 15 years.
The Coptic Christian who owned the building was fined 360,000 Egyptian pounds for setting up an unlicensed church, despite the government’s ruling earlier this month that Egyptian Christians would be officially allowed to holding meetings in buildings pending recognition as places of worship.