AFRICA/EGYPT - Following Palm Sunday massacre Easter for Coptic Christians in Egypt will be quiet prayer remembering the victims

Wednesday, 12 April 2017 oriental churches   martyrs   islam   dialogue  


Cairo (Agenzia Fides) – Easter for the Copt community here will be celebrated quietly in a spirit of prayer and in remembrance of those killed in the Palm Sunday attack last week. Traditional Copt meetings with state, social and religious representative and institutions before and after the Easter services have been cancelled. This was announced by Anba Raphael, secretary of the Holy Copt Orthodox Synod, after several petitions – including a request from lawyer Hani Ramses, a member of the Maspero Youth Union – asking the Copt Orthodox Patriarch to annul the usual exchange of greetings between bishops and clergy and civil and religious authorities on the occasion of major Christian festivities. That means this year, in Egypt the Feast of the Resurrection will be more sober, prayer and liturgies, but without the usual more visible festive banquets and activities.
In the past, also in Egypt, the question of Christmas and Easter greetings to address to the nation’s Christians has been at the centre of recurrent polemic among groups and representatives of the Islamic community, heightened by recent initiatives on the part of official Sunni Muslims institutions – al Azhar first of all – to contrast the diffusion di extremist doctrine and exploitation of the Koran in a Jihadist key. Last Christmas, as Fides reported, Salafiti Preacher Abdul Hamid issued a fatwa stating that a greeting addressed by a Muslim to a Christian on the occasion of solemn religious services was a “grave sin”, and sheikh Mahmud Lotfy went as far as to say that for a Muslim , hatred of Christians is a religious obligation. After these expressions, an intervention by the House of Fatwa (Dar al Ifta al Misriyyah): an Egyptian body headed by the Grand Mufti of Egypt started as one of the divisions of the Egyptian Ministry of Justice set to clarify the right way, removing doubts concerning religious and worldly life, and revealing religious laws for new issues of contemporary life, affirmed that a Muslim should never hesitate to offer greetings and congratulations to Christian friends and acquaintances on the occasion of their religious solemnities and festivities, indeed, Dar al Ifta al Misriyyah emphasised that this behaviour helps build peaceful harmony among the different components of society. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 12/4/2017).