Cairo (AsiaNews) - "By seizing land that belongs to the
Diocese of Shubra al-Kheima, Salafists are sending a warning to the new Coptic patriarch,
Tawadros II," said Rafic Greiche. Speaking to AsiaNews, the clergyman, who is the spokesman of the Egyptian
Catholic Church, explained that with such action Muslim extremists want to intimidate
Shenouda III's successor because of his statement against the inclusion of
Sharia in Egypt's future constitution.
On Monday night, about a hundred of Muslim extremists wielding
sticks and rods seized land near the S. Mina Church in Shubra al-Kheima, in the
centre of Cairo. With police standing idly by, the Islamists occupied the
parcel of land for more than a day and put up a sign bearing the words 'Al-Rahma
Mosque'. Only this morning did law enforcement moved in after Church authorities
informed the Interior Ministry.
The diocese is headed by Bishop Antonius Morcos, who is
Coptic Church media point man as well as new patriarch's spokesman.
"Such an action is nothing new in Egypt, but this is the first
time that extremists directly go after a high-profile Coptic prelate," Fr
In a statement issued yesterday Patriarch Tawadros II criticised
the Islamist stranglehold on the constituent assembly, saying that the Coptic
would oppose any step taken by the constituent assembly to impose Islamic law
on the country.
Today, groups of Christian and Muslim activists called on
the authorities to arrest the Salafists who carried out the action.
Members of the Maspero
Youth Movement and leaders of the Free
Egyptian Party appealed to President Morsi to stop such acts, which stir
sectarian hatred. (S.C.)