AFRICA/EGYPT - Patriarch Tawadros: no to alarmism on anti-Christian violence; the Egyptian people also protected the Holy Family

Tuesday, 28 March 2017 oriental churches   violence   sectaniarism   jihadists  


Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - The stories of violence against Christians recorded in North Sinai represent exceptions, in a Country where already the Holy Family, who escaped Herod, came to seek refuge and protection. With this evocative reminder of the flight into Egypt of Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus, narrated in the Gospel of Matthew, Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II wanted to scale down alarmism on the Christians’ condition in Egyptian land, recently rekindled by the violence and the assassinations that affected the Coptic community. In a television interview, broadcast on Monday, March 27 by CBC satellite channel, the Primate of the most consistent Church rooted in an Arab country wanted to emphasize that the attacks carried out by jihadist groups affect Egyptian Christians, but also the army, police forces and the judiciary.
Behind these terrorist actions of jihadists linked to the self-styled Islamic State (Daesh) - stressed the Patriarch - there are forces and organizations alien to Egyptian society, which aim to divide Egypt.
In the interview, Tawadros also highlighted the harmonious relations between the Church and civil institutions, responding indirectly to the excessive alignment criticism of the Coptic Church with the political-social bloc headed by President Abdel Fattah al Sisi. The Coptic Orthodox Patriarch wanted to emphasize that good relations between the Church and civil institutions "do not represent a negative thing", and that the Church can carry out its mission with more serenity when there is polarization between the Church and State, and when harmony prevails between the different components of society.
Regarding the forced exodus of more than three hundred Coptic families who fled from North Sinai in February, after the series of violence and murders that hit the local Christian community, the Patriarch stressed that this represented an exceptional and temporary measure, taken to safeguard the lives of all, and confirmed that soon the displaced families will be able to return to their homes.
The news of the beginning of a counter-exodus of Christians of North Sinai had already been confirmed on Sunday, March 26 from Anba Kosman, Coptic Orthodox Bishop of al Arish (see Fides 27/03/2017). The Bishop also reported that Masses are celebrated every day in al Arish, and has denied the rumors – which circulated in recent days on the net – of "priests being hunted down" by terrorist groups in the capital of the governorate, confirming that the general situation concerning the safety of that region is beginning to return to normal. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 28/03/2017)