Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - The attacks on Christians and their property are "attacks on all of us". Attacks on churches are comparable to "attacks on mosques", and the defense of Christians and their churches "is part of the doctrine of the Muslim faith": said prof. Mohamed Mokthtar Gomaa, Minister of Awqaf, citing in this regard also the teachings of Ibn Hazm, the Arab theologian in the Andalusian period, leading proponent and codifier of the Zahiri school of Islamic thought (994-1064). The Minister’s statements were made during the Cultural Forum of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, held in Cairo on the afternoon of Sunday, March 5. The forum, which focused on the themes of the principle of citizenship and equality of rights and duties among citizens, also saw the participation of Rev. Andrea Zaki, President of the Evangelical Coptic Church in Egypt, and prof. Sami al Sharif, former Dean of the Faculty of Communication at the University of Cairo. The speakers took into account both the recent conference organized by the University of Al Azhar on the issues of citizenship and Islamic-Christian coexistence (see Fides 02/03/2017) and the exodus of hundreds of Coptic families who have fled in the last weeks from north Sinai, after 7 belonging to local Coptic communities had been killed in targeted assassinations (see Fides 27/02/2017).
With regard to the violence that hit the Coptic Christians in northern Sinai, Egyptian professor al Sharif wanted to point out that the emergency in that area is not limited to just Christians, but is a serious national problem. In that area - remarked al Sharif - jihadist groups, who say are affiliated to the Islamic State (Daesh), "have killed dozens of soldiers without taking any account of their religion". The Egyptian professor, an expert in communication, criticized the misleading media reconstructions that report recent tribulations experienced by Egyptian Copts in Sinai as an example of religious persecution to which Egyptian Christians are subjected to by the local Islamic majority. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 06/03/2017)