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  • » 02/04/2011, 00.00

    ISLAM - EGYPT

    Bishops of North Africa: Egypt and Tunisia claiming freedom and dignity



    The Bishops of Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Western Sahara appreciate demonstrations by young people. They are an opportunity for dialogue between Christians and Muslims. So far the demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia have not taken on Islamist connotations.

    Algiers (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The demonstrations that are "shaking Tunisia and Egypt today" are "a vindication of freedom and dignity" in the opinion of the Conference of Bishops of North Africa (CERNA).  The group published a statement last night at the conclusion of their annual meeting, held in the Algerian capital.

    CERNA includes the bishops of Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Western Sahara. Yesterday's was their first public pronunciation on what is happening in the Arab countries of North Africa, where popular demonstrations, driven by poverty and corruption of dictatorships are shaking political systems. Stressing the "demands for freedom and dignity," the bishops make no difference between Muslims and Christians. For them, it comes "especially from the younger generations of our region and is expressed in a will that demands they be recognized as responsible citizens."

    The astonishing fact for many international observers is that the demonstrations that have taken place in Tunisia and Egypt see Christians and Muslims protest together. Their unity is a "secular" one and is based on together being victims of poverty, high prices, corruption, unemployment. In their statement the bishops do not comment on the recent anti-Christian attacks in Egypt and Iraq, and instead see "more and more opportunities" for growth of ties between Christians and Muslims as citizens. "Yes - they say - Muslim-Christian dialogue is possible."

    In Egypt, Coptic Christians appear next to young Muslims, although the Coptic Orthodox hierarchy has suggested the faithful "keep calm".

    So far, the demonstrations in Cairo have not taken on an Islamist hue. According to many young Copts, the Islamist threat was exploited - and nurtured- by the Mubarak regime to divide the population and control it.

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    See also

    07/02/2011 EGYPT
    Egypt’s revolution belongs to the young people, not the Muslim Brotherhood
    The real protagonists of change are young Christians and Muslims. Muslim Brotherhood trying to highjack transition. Fear and silence of Church authorities. Accounts of real "national unity". The analysis of a noted political analyst and director of the Jesuit Cultural Centre of Alexandria.

    29/01/2011 EGYPT
    Cairo: anti-Mubarak protests continue, at least 50 dead from clashes
    Thousands of demonstrators occupy the streets of major cities. The government has announced its resignation, but people want the "fall of the regime”. Mobile phone lines partly restored, internet still down. Obama calls for non-violent response of the Egyptian government, China censors the word "Egypt" on the web.

    10/11/2011 EGYPT
    Shenouda III urges Copts to vote en masse for moderate Muslims if need be
    The head of the Coptic Orthodox Church stresses the importance of Christians for the country’s stability and future. Citizenship committees are being organised at the parish level to push Christians to become engaged in politics. Experts warn against a new military regime in Egypt, look favourably to the Tunisian model.

    16/08/2013 EGYPT - ISLAM
    Muslim Brotherhood calls for 'Friday of Anger' as Cairo death toll rises along with number of torched Christian buildings
    Brotherhood members will converge from all the mosques to Ramses Square after Friday prayers. Anti-Morsi groups ready to defend Christian churches, shops and homes. Mosques full of corpses, like morgues. The condemnation of the international community.

    12/04/2013 EGYPT - ISLAM
    Egypt, Parliament gives green light to use of religious slogans during election campaign
    The amendment also allows propaganda in places of worship. It was approved by Islamist majority votes. Democratic parties critical, Copt MPs and the president of the chamber. Theywarn: "The new regulation incites religious hatred." Death toll from April 5 clashes in al-Khosous suburb rises to seven.



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