AUG 27 - Coptic leaders in Egypt's Minya province say the government should protect them from attacks against Christians. Lindsey Parietti reports.
Amid the ashes of a burnt out church, prayer continues. Egypt's Christian churches have been the target of a wave of attacks amid the country's unrest - with Minya governorate suffering some of the worst violence. About 20 churches here were looted and set ablaze this month after the Egyptian army cracked down on supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. So far, no one has claimed responsibility. Bishop Macarius, a Coptic Orthodox leader in Minya, called on the government to take weapons out of the hands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters and punish the perpetrators. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BISHOP-GENERAL MACARIUS, SAYING: ''The thugs have been around for a long time and they're everywhere, they work in an unpredictable way, they're not organised, and what happened, happened at the same time, in the same scenario, in the same way, if there is a mastermind, if there was one person responsible, it isn't the duty of the Christians to ask who this person is, it's the duty of the government." The Brotherhood said it had nothing to do with the attacks on Christians, who make up 10 percent of Egypt's population. Brotherhood leaders have accused the army of using the attacks to justify an ever more brutal crackdown on Islamists. The army maintains it is combating "terrorism".