Officially, no cause has been determined for the Sunday fire that caused extensive destruction to the Coptic Church of the Virgin Mary in Tema, Egypt. Unofficially, suspicion has fallen upon Muslims who, according to Mideast Christian News, distributed a leaflet in December with this warning:
“To the Crusaders of Tema and sons of the traitor [Coptic Pope] Tawadros, you who announced war on Islam and began with insulting the Prophet. You conspired against the Islamic president and mobilized people to prevent the application of Sharia and the repeal of Article II. Therefore, your churches, monasteries and priests will be a target to our attacks in case we discover these churches or any Christian schools are built without licenses, or if any Christian disdains the divine majesty, Prophet Muhammad, his Companions or the Islamic sanctities.”
Mideast Christian News reports that no one was killed in the blaze in Egypt’s southern Sohag governate, but that an unreported number of people suffered injuries. Several houses adjacent to the church also burned.