The crowd believed it was set to be turned into a Christian church and took umbrage, setting fire to the building and other nearby Christian properties.
They also destroyed the construction materials and injured Christians who attempted to reason with them.
Christian resident Mousa Zarif said: “On Friday afternoon, following Friday noon prayer, a great deal of fanatic Muslims gathered in the front of the new house of my cousin, Naim Aziz, during its construction because of a rumour spread in the village that this building would be turned into a church.
“They were chanting slogans against us. Among these slogans were: ‘No way will there be a church here.’”
When the church’s priest heard what was taking place in the village he rushed to the scene, where he was also set upon.
Zaire said: “They also intercepted the car of Father Karas Naser, the priest of the Holy Virgin and the Archangel Michael Coptic Church when he arrived at the village.
“They attacked him but some moderate Muslims intervened, rescuing him from their hands and getting him out of the car.”
The attack took place in the Egyptian village of Al-Beida
Police were called to the scene but either could not or refused to stop the destruction. The crowd continued to set homes and cars on fire in the presence of officers, and also gathered outside the doors to Christian buildings to perform their afternoon prayers on loudspeakers.
“We are not living in a jungle or a tribal society. It’s incorrect for anyone to declare himself judge, police and ruler.