Every August, tens of thousands of Egypt’s Coptic Christians and Egyptian Muslims take buses and trains to the Virgin Mary Monastery in Assiut. The monastery is believed to have been visited by the holy family when they fled Israel out of fear of persecution by King Herod. Only a few thousand people were able to visit this year after authorities suspended the traditional celebrations for security reasons and also banned Muslims from attending the event. Hamada Elrasam reports.

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