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Egypt’s Christians in fear after attack on cathedral

By on Monday, 8 April 2013

Egyptian Christians with coffins at the funeral Mass before the attacks began (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Egyptian Christians with coffins at the funeral Mass before the attacks began (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Hundreds of Egyptian Christians were besieged inside Cairo’s Coptic cathedral last night after a mob, reportedly with the help of security forces, launched an attack on worshippers.

One person died and 84 were injured during the attack, which began after a funeral mass for five Copts who were killed in sectarian violence on Saturday, in which a Muslim man also died.

Wael Eskandar, an Egyptian blogger at the funeral, said he saw people being showered with broken bottles from the roof of a block of flats. After being attacked, he said, the people “started racing out of the side street and destroying the nearby cars”.

Last night Egypt’s President Morsi issued a statement, saying he had spoken to Coptic leader Pope Tawadros II and given

“I consider any attack on the cathedral as an attack on me, personally.”

In a statement following the attack General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom said:

“While the Arab Spring and uprising in Tahrir Square were expected to bring about a fresh start for Egypt, the only true difference is that the situation seems to have become progressively worse for many millions of Egyptian citizens.

“Today, Egypt saw an unprecedented attack on the See of the Pope of Alexandria, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate in Cairo, by mobs, with the police arriving far too late and doing very little, if anything at all, to prevent them.”

A reported 100,000 Christians left Egypt last year following the overthrow of President Mubarak in the January 25 Revolution.

  • Benedict Carter

    I live in Qatar. I was talking only last night with an Eygptian Coptic Christian who expressed great fear and worry over the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mursi.

    He is right to be worried. Wherever and whenever Islamists have taken power, dhimmitude follows. My friend thinks civil war is a real possibility.

  • Peter

    We can pray for them, but we can also act for them.

    In addition to yearly or twice yearly collections for Cafod, Mission Sunday and Pax Christi, there should also be an obligatory collection for the ACN across all parishes in all diocese of England and Wales.

    Not only will this raise much needed funds for desperate communities, but it will also increase the realisation among parishes in the pampered West that many Christians in today’s world is to suffer for their faith.

    They suffer to keep Christianity alive and therefore they suffer for us.

  • la catholic state

    Disgusting behaviour against a minority. I feel it is time for a different approach from the Vatican and from world-wide Christians. Before we sink back into helplessness and a sense of futility at it all again.
    Eventually we are going to have to do something.

  • scary goat

    Yes, indeed. A similar situation exists in Iraq. It’s all very fine the west intervening to bring “democracy” to Arab countries, but IMHO they don’t know what they are messing with….and the likelihood of Islamic government following is very very high…and this means likely persecution of Christian minorities.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    Throwing money at the problem will not resolve anything concerning the atmosphere of hatred that is being fomented by the Islamist radicals.

  • Peter

    No-one is throwing anything.

  • Benedict Carter

    You’d like to though.

  • scary goat

    I don’t know so much about what happened in Egypt, but I know a lot about what happened in Iraq….and Palestine/Jordan/Israel and with all due respect I really think that throwing money after the damage has been done isn’t the answer. I think it would be more useful not to interfere in things we don’t understand in the first place. (and probably for the wrong reasons too!)

    And what should we do now? I really don’t know….except pray.

  • Peter

    What I’d like is to see more support going to the ACN who certainly do not throw their money around.

  • Peter

    “throwing money after the damage has been done isn’t the answer”

    Throwing money no, but carefully administering it where it is needed most, yes!

    In Egypt for example, the ACN provides Mass stipends for priests, supports Christian schools, gives aid to the elderly, and helps in the construction of parish centres which are vital for the beleaguered Christian community.

  • scary goat

    Don’t misunderstand me….I’m not saying we shouldn’t help in whatever way we can….what I am saying is that once a place has been destabilized, something like a bit of financial help to support a Christian school is a bit like putting a sticking plaster on a torn off leg when you have militant Islamists attacking Christians (in their Churches). A destabilized Middle East is a disaster for Christian minorities.

  • Peter

    Don’t tell me; if you think the ACN are wasting their time and our money, tell them.

    As for me, I think the most valuable the ACN bring through their efforts is hope, hope to persecuted communities, which gives these communities the strength to carry on in the knowledge that whatever happens to them, they will never be abandoned

  • scary goat

    That wasn’t my point Peter. I didn’t say they are wasting their time or our money. We do what little we can. What I said was that destabilizing the Middle East is a monumental disaster….an epic fail…and USA/UK foreign policies have contributed to that. (Gnashing teeth in frustration)….sorry, not at you, Peter, at the state of political affairs.

  • la catholic state
  • maxmarley

    And is the west concerned? Not in the slightest.
    Not a Charles Martel in sight

  • Benedict Carter

    When mobs are burning down your churches and killing you, a little financial support from Aid to the Church in Need is not going to help you much.

  • Dr Falk

    good point. The ACN are supporting these communities to live.

  • Dr Falk

    yes – hope.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    FOOLISH same old political intervention! No CRYING TO JESUS THE ONLY SAVIOR?

  • la catholic state

    It’s not foolish! It’s too easy to sit back and watch others suffer. We should ask Coptic Christians what they would like us pampered Christians to do for them.

    It is time the Vatican intervened….if only to condemn the disgusting bullying taking place!

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    Broken bottles and rocks, for starters …

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    When Nations which are CHRISTIAN (=BELONGING TO Christ The Lord) ONLY IN NAME attack Muslims or Muslim nations, they consider it as CHRISTIANS ATTACKING THEM. We need to bring in JESUS THE LORD and do what is according to his mind.

    The same old policy of “running to Egypt”, going to get help from “Egypt”, will not bring us God’s favour.

    Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

  • scary goat

    Yes, exactly, Fr. TP. In the Muslim mind there is an association between “western” and “Christian”. They don’t understand that “western” long since stopped being synonymous with Christian. So when they are attacked or otherwise interfered with by the political west, they also assume that they are being attacked/interfered with by Christians. This puts Christian Arabs in a dreadful position, because they are seen as traitors. I don’t suppose the secular west cares much, neither about the Muslims nor the Christian minorities in these areas. They are all just “collateral damage”.

  • Susie Sharpe

    And we think we are badly treated in uk now. We must pray and urge our government and the Catholic church in general to do what is God’s will in this situation.