Church in memory of 21 Copts killed by ISIS attacked with petrol bombs

A church that was being set up in memory of the 21 Coptic Christians beheaded by ISIS in Libya in February wasattacked on the same day as a commemorative mass was held to mark 40 days since their death.

Daily News Egypt reports that the church, which was being built in Al Our village, the hometown of 13 of the martyred Christians, was attacked with petrol bombs on Friday.

During the day a group of mostly Muslim youths gathered outside the church and demonstrated, saying that the church would not be built there. In the evening the building was attacked by a smaller group of protesters. 

On the same day a mob, who were identified by witnesses as members of the Muslim Brotherhood, attacked the home of one of the martyr's family while the mass was taking place, PJ Media reports.

The mob attacked the house with bricks and stones and also set fire to the car of one of the mourners who had travelled to the village for the service.

Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb announced the plan to have a state-funded church in the village in memory of the 21 at the funeral in February, when he also said that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi had agreed to the plans. It was to be called the Church of the Martyrs of Faith and Country of Al Our.

The Coptic community purchased the land for the church and construction began, but some Muslim residents were unhappy about the location of the church, at the entrance to the village.

After the attacks, members from the Coptic and Muslim communities in the village attended a reconciliation meeting, where it was agreed that the site of the church would be moved, and the seven arrested protesters were released.

The decision prompted criticism on Twitter about the lack of due process, and the vulnerable position of minority communities in Egypt.