» 01/04/2011, 00.00
EGYPT - ISLAM
Anxiety and anger: Christmas celebrations for Copts in Egypt and worldwide at risk
So far, the Coptic patriarch says he will celebrate Christmas Mass, but he may yet cancel it. Security stepped up in churches throughout the country. The violence of young Copts, a sign of no confidence in the Egyptian system. Discrimination against Christians: to repair a toilet in a church, a decree from the provincial governor is needed; Muslims can build mosques freely, receiving construction materials for free. Attack on the church of Alexandria has opened "a new and more cruel style." In Sydney Christmas celebrations canceled. Security measures in France, Canada, Germany.
Cairo (AsiaNews) - "The Coptic community is preparing to celebrate Christmas with the anguish, following the New Year’s attack, that left 21 dead and 80 injured" an Egyptian priest tells AsiaNews, adding that "for now the Coptic Patriarch Shenouda III is determined to celebrate midnight mass, but until 7 January [the date of the Coptic Christmas] he could cancel it. "
Along with an unease that has invested all Christians, including Catholics, there is a new phenomenon: "Christians, especially the younger ones, have become more violent and this is because they feel it is useless to stay calm and hope that justice will be done".
On January 2 groups of young Copts clashed with police and they even threw stones at political and religious figures who had gone to the patriarch to express their condolences. In the clashes with the police, at least 45 policemen and 27 civilians were injured. Last night a thousand protesters clashed with police again in a neighborhood north of Cairo. The toll: 12 policemen injured. Yesterday afternoon a rally of 200 intellectuals and artists in the city center was forcibly dispersed.
"Young people no longer trust in the Egyptian system, which has huge flaws. Although the Egyptian constitution states the value of citizenship, it remains a written word, it has not become a reality".
The priest goes on to list the inequities in Egyptian society: "To repair a toilet in a Christian church, you need a decree from the governor of the province, Muslims do not need any permission to build a mosque. They are even offered free building material. The reality is that we are not treated as citizens. Added to this there is live discrimination in careers in the army and public administration and a total lack of security. We have to hire private security for our churches, but these have only a pistol and a cell phone and are not effective in stopping violence, they have little means to investigate and detect the presence of explosives. "
After the attack in Alexandria, the government is now stepping up security measures, especially in the lead up to Christmas, with hundreds of police deployed around the churches. No word yet if the patriarch will celebrate mass. So far, though he said that he will do so and we are preparing for it, but we do not know if it will go ahead in three days times. " The patriarch is also sending messages to calm the minds of young people, demanding peace and nonviolence.
The attack on the Church of Saints in Alexandria has even aroused the condemnation of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood: "In all likelihood - says the priest - the source of the terrorist act is elsewhere, al Qaeda, perhaps in Iraq. What is certain is that we are faced with a newer and crueler style than before. It is the first time there has been an attack of such a violent level in Egypt, using explosives inside a church. So far there had been clashes, but between people, individuals, perhaps with a gun, but certainly not with lethal explosives".
"Maybe, - concluded the priest –predominantly Christian nations, in Europe or elsewhere, need to bring more influence to bear on the Egyptian government, as did Pope Benedict XVI." Meanwhile, in preparation for Christmas, in France, Canada, Germany, authorities have tightened security around the buildings of the Coptic community for fear of attacks. In Sydney (Australia), the Coptic community has received threats and the faithful have decided to cancel Christmas celebrations.
Nag Hamadi: armed commando attacks Coptic Christians, seven dead and three wounded
The incident happened at midnight last night, after Christmas Mass which the Coptic Church celebrates Christmas on January 7. The attack was revenge for an alleged case of sexual assault against a twelve year old, which occurred last November.
Cairo: three candidates in race to succeed Shenouda III
These are bishops Amba Raphael and Amba Tawadraus and hegumen Rouphail Afa Mina. On November 4 the next pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church will be chosen from among these. Three days of fasting and prayer ahead of the election.
Egyptian court shelves trial against 'unknown' for Maspero massacre of Copts
Judges claim "lack of identification of the culprits." In the October 9, 2011 massacre of peaceful demonstrators 27 Christians were killed and over 300 were injured. 28Copts arrested in the aftermath of the massacre and accused of involvement also acquitted. Victims’ relatives cry "farce".
Truth and justice not lies and superficiality on massacre of Copts
The results of the autopsies will be released Oct. 27. But Egyptian army trying to silence the issue by manipulating the truth and accusing the Copts of provoking the violence despite the eyewitness accounts and videos. Shenouda III is opposed to the military’s version. Obama also assumes that the Copts were violent. Not to forget AsiaNews publishes some pictures of the massacre, sent by Coptic organizations.
Crowd of 3 thousand Muslims attack a Coptic Christian community, 25 injured
Faithful were gathered in prayer when attack occurred. There were four priests, one deacon and 400 parishioners in the building, women and children also targeted. Fundamentalists fury, egged on by the imam, unleashed by the rumour that the Christians are building a new church. In reality it is a hospice.
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": A Christmas gift to survive winter
As Iraqi troops advance in the Nineveh Plain and Mosul, a new wave of refugees could overshadow the fate of other refugees who found hospitality in Kurdistan. People need kerosene, winter clothes, aid for children, and money for rent. The campaign AsiaNews launched two years ago is more urgent than ever. Give up a superfluous gift to offer refugees an essential gift for life.
Pastor of Amadiya: Mosul’s Christian refugees, torn between emergency aid and the longing to return home
P. Samir Youssef
In a letter Fr. Samir Youssef describes the situation of refugees, exiled from their home for more than two years. They are closely following the offensive to retake Mosul, although their homes and churches "are for the most part" burned or destroyed. With the arrival of winter there is a serve lack of heating oil, clothes, food and money to pay for their children’s school bus. An appeal to continue to support the AsiaNews campaign.
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