09/13/2012, 00.00
EGYPT

Egyptian Catholic Church spokesman: Pope must go to Lebanon even if the situation is tense

Fr. Rafic Greiche underlines the extreme importance of the Pope's trip as a bearer of peace to a Middle East victim of hatred and war. For the priest the attacks sparked by satirical film about Muhammad are against the United States, not against Christians. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood launches a major protest for September 14 in Cairo and other cities of the country. The Egyptian Copts criticize the film.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood have called the population to rally together on Sept. 14 against the satirical film about Muhammad entitled "Innounce of Muslims" produced in the United States and released in recent days on the internet in English and Arabic . Protests are still being held in Cairo and Benghazi (Libya) against the film. Yesterday, an attack by Islamist militants on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi killed the American ambassador in Libya and three other officials of his staff.

The protests planned by Egyptian Islamists, could also involve other Islamic countries. The date coincides with the visit of Benedict XVI to Lebanon, to be held September 14 to 16. According to Fr. Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, "The trip to Lebanon should remain on the agenda even if the situation in the region is very tense. His visit is a great opportunity to show that peace is the only possible alternative to hatred and war. Benedict XVI's presence a few kilometers from Syria is a message of solidarity and dialogue for the Middle East and the Christian and Muslim populations that are the protagonists of the Arab Spring and the Islamic factions fighting each other. "

He stresses that the protests that took place in these days in front of the U.S. embassies in Cairo and Benghazi have targeted the United States. "It is no coincidence - he says - that these events have been organized on the day of the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. For many Islamists this was an opportunity to give greater echo to their voice. Nevertheless, it should be noted that among the people who demonstrated outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo, there were also several Coptic Christians. People protested against the United States holding it responsible for this offensive film, not against Christians. Countries that have lived under dictatorial regimes do not take freedom of expression into consideration, they think that everything is scrutinized by the public authorities. " Fr. Greiche explains that Christians respect all religions, this film does not represent the thinking of the Christian community in Egypt. The film was made with the cooperation of the Coptic Orthodox emigrants to the United States, but the Egyptian Coptic community has denied any connection with these people.


However, the priest points out that Muslims and the whole world rises up whenever Muhammad is offended, but the same does not occur when other religious symbols, especially Christian, are the object of contempt and insult from Islamic radicals in Egypt. "After the fall of Mubarak - said Fr. Greiche - the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood have filled the newsstands and shops with newspapers, magazines, books that contain entire passages against Christians. Each week " The Voice of the People "contains as many as 10 pages full of insults and attacks against Christians and this is common in other newspapers and televisions, but nobody talks about it or is scandalized by it. " (S.C.)

 

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