Sunday, 24 August 2008

Settlement and Separation - Abu Fana Monasterly land dispute

Missing the mark

A settlement of the Abu Fana Monastery land dispute, based on the ruling of an ad-hoc committee, was reached this week. The Coptic Orthodox Church relinquished 95 feddans (25 of cultivated land within the grounds of the Abu Fana Monastery and 70 of fallow land in the vicinity of the monastery), grudgingly, according to some Coptic clergy and laity. Moreover, a separating wall surrounding the monastery has been erected.

The ad-hoc committee established by the authorities to resolve the dispute was headed by Minya Governor Ahmed Diaaeddin and included leading Muslims and Copts such as Minya MP Alaa Hassanein and Mallawi businessman Eid Labib, as well as representatives of the monastery and of the Bedouin Arabs involved in the land dispute.

"Everything is now settled and everyone is content," Hassanein told Al-Ahram Weekly. "Christians and Muslims live side by side in peace and harmony."Speaking from the site of the disputed land, Hassanein explained that with the erection of the separation wall the monks would feel more secure as they carried out their activities.

Whether that will satisfy the firebrand politicians, both Coptic and Muslims, at home and abroad, who aimed to make political capital out of the unfortunate incident, remains unclear. Certainly the spat over Abu Fana has left some Copts embittered.

See teh above page for the full story.

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