Cairo (AsiaNews) - "We fear that Pope Tawadros II might become a target of
Islamist reprisal," said Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Catholic Church in
Egypt. "In recent weeks, after the fall of the Morsi administration, attacks
and acts of intimidation against the Christian minority have occurred on a
On 3 July, when General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced the ouster of
President Mohammed Morsi, ushering in a period of transition, the Grand Imam of
al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, and Coptic Pope Tawadros, expressed both their enthusiasm
and approval. The head of the Coptic Orthodox Church added, "The plan laid out
by the general will be carried out by people who care about the country's fate."
Such a statement in support of the caretaker government has led many
members of the Muslim Brotherhood to think that Christians were behind a plot
against President Morsi, and this has triggered a spate of reprisals from
Tawadros II," Fr Greiche said, "used to go to Cairo's St Mark Cathedral every
Wednesday to meet with the faithful and hold a series of weekly readings. Since
President Morsi's ouster more than a month ago, he has been forced to hold
those meetings in a monastery outside the city."
Upper Egypt to the capital, violence
and intimidation continue. Two days ago, a Catholic man was killed in
Sohag, whilst yesterday, a 10-year-old girl was murdered as she left a
Protestant church in one of the more densely populated districts of Cairo. The attackers
came up to her on a motorcycle and opened fire.
Maghdi Mina, a
leader in the Muslim-Christian Maspero Youth Union, told AsiaNews that "in the streets of Cairo there is an atmosphere of
expectation, after Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi gave an ultimatum to the Muslim
Brotherhood to end its protest camp."
month occupying Nahda and Rabaa Adawiya, people are tired and wondering why the
military is still letting things go on as they are," he added.
believe that Western diplomatic meddling in the political affairs of the
country has been a hindrance to a more determined intervention by the Armed
On 7 August, caretaker
Prime Minister Beblawi announced the failure of Western-backed diplomatic talks,
and made a last appeal to the Muslim Brotherhood to leave the streets and
return to home.
For weeks, military
helicopters have been flying over the areas occupied by Islamist demonstrators,
dropping flyers urging them to leave. Now people expect the military to move in
in a few days time.