By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
(ANS) -- Mohammad Mostafa Kamel, a Muslim prosecutor at the Alexandria Criminal Court, and his two sons, aided by some hired Muslims, broke into the church of the St. Mary in Rashid and demolished a large portion of its alter. They came to the church with front loaders.
According to a story by Mary Abdelmassih of the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), Kamel had no demolition order.
AINA said his fight with the church goes back to 2009 when he tried to take ownership of the church. He claimed he had bought the ancient building, which dates back to the 9th century, from the Greek Orthodox Church.
However, AIMA reported, it was the Coptic church which bought after it was up for sale due to the dwindling number of Greeks in Rashid. It is located 65 km (40 miles) east of Alexandria, in the Beheira governorate.
AINA reported that Father Maximos of St. Mary's Church said he rushed to the police station with Father Luke Asaad and their lawyer to try to bring the police to help. In the police station the prosecutor and his two sons reportedly threatened to kill the two priests and their lawyer. A police report was filed regarding those threats.
"We stayed at the police station for over six hours with the police begging prosecutor Kamel and his two sons not to demolish the church," AINA reported Father Maximos said. "In spite of them not having a demolition order."
AINA reported Father Luke said that the prosecutor had lost all the cases he brought to court against the church. He added, "So when this route failed, he tried taking the matter into his own hands."
AINA said the police confiscated the loaders, but refused to take legal action against Kamel, because he is a prosecutor.
In the attack of 2009, AINA said, the prosecutor, his sons and their aides demolished the church fence and injured the church guard.