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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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» 01/08/2013
LIBYA
Libya, Msgr. Martinelli: the Coptic Orthodox and all Christians are not a target of extremists
For the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli the attack against the church of St. George in Dafniya is the result of social unrest sweeping the country. The Coptic community celebrates Christmas without any more threats.

Measured (AsiaNews) - "The Orthodox Copts in Libya celebrated their Christmas in peace. The late December attack on the church of St. George in Dafniya is the first against Christians in Libya. It is, however, an isolated case, which should be read in the light of social and political instability sweeping the country". This according to Msgr. Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, who on January 6 visited the Coptic Orthodox community of Tripoli, bringing with him the Catholic Churches best wishes for the Orthodox Christmas which was celebrated yesterday.

On 30 December, a group of unknown persons attacked the Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George in the province of Dafniya in Misrata. Two Egyptian nationals lost their lives in the explosion. Two more were injured. The attack took place shortly after the end of the mass. The group of assailants waited until the faithful were leaving the Church  targeting them with grenades. Timothy Beshara, a priest of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Libya, said that the building was severely damaged, especially the refectory which is now a pile of rubble.

At first, the case was dismissed as a mere "accident", but on pressure from the Egyptian authorities, the government in Tripoli launched investigations to arrest the culprits and dampen rumors of a possible rise of Islamic fundamentalism against Christians.

For Msgr. Martinelli "Christians must above all ask for the protection of the Libyan authorities - says the bishop - helping this new country to grow." According to the prelate there has always been Islamic fundamentalism in Libya, but now the strength of the Islamists is on the wane.

Under the Gaddafi regime about 1.5 million Egyptians worked in Libya. For years, they were the second largest ethnic group after the Libyans. With the start of the civil war more than half of the migrants returned home, but many came back after the fall of Gaddafi. Among them are several thousand Coptic Orthodox Christians, whom together with Catholics and Protestants make up the small local Christian community, which accounts for about 3% of the population.

The coastal town of Dafniya is located about 30 km west of Misrata. The area is still controlled by armed rebel contingents and is the only one that still has roadblocks in the hands of militants. In Misrata, Benghazi and Derna there are different cells of Islamic extremist militant guerrillas also from other Arab countries. On 11 September a group of extremists close to al-Qaeda attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi with heavy weapons, killing the U.S. ambassador to Tripoli Christopher Stevens and three members of his staff. (S.C.)

 


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See also
05/14/2013 LIBYA
Benghazi in revolt against Islamists following deadly attack
07/18/2012 LIBYA
Elections: progressive alliance of former NTC Prime Minister wins
03/15/2013 LIBYA
Benghazi, the Coptic Church of St. Mark is torched
03/05/2013 LIBYA
Gunmen attack Coptic Orthodox church in Benghazi, assault two clergymen
12/28/2010 PHILIPPINES
Churches full in Mindanao despite concerns over attacks

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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