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» 05/09/2011
EGYPT
Threat of civil war looms over Egypt, an appeal to the international community
The spokesman of the Catholic Churches of Egypt calls on the international community to intervene to prevent the rise of an Islamic regime. The army locks down the capital to prevent further clashes between Christians and Muslims. Those who foment religious hatred could be sentenced to death.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - "Egypt is at the beginning of a great civil war. And this because of a small group of Islamic extremists who are stifling the ideals of the Jasmine Revolution, fomenting violence across the country”, Fr Rafic Greich, chief press officer for the Egyptian Catholic Church and spokesman for the seven Egyptian Catholic denominations tells AsiaNews. The priest calls on the international community to support the military led government and protect all Egyptians, Muslims and Christians, from discrimination and the advent of a fundamentalist Islamic regime. Today, thousands of Copts protested outside the headquarters of the Egyptian TV (Maspero) a few meters from Tahrir Square, calling for greater security, equal rights and the end of discrimination.

After the clashes last May 7 between Orthodox Copts and Muslims left at 12 dead and 189 wounded, this morning the army deployed thousands of troops in the capital and suburbs. To prevent further violence, the security forces have arrested 190 people, Christians and Muslims, threatening the death penalty for all those who foment sectarian hatred.

"The situation is very critical - points out Fr. Greich - the military government is too weak and fears Islamic extremist groups like the Salafis, who are eager to create unrest and chaos everywhere. " The priest also said that the Coptic Catholic Church is in danger, even though "for now, no Catholic church was attacked." However, immediately after the attack on the church of St. Mina Imbada (north-east of Cairo), the Coptic Orthodox priest of the parish took refuge in the nearby Catholic church spared from attacks by Salafists. "During the clashes - Fr.Greiche states - the Salafists retaliated and killed a sixteen year old nephew of the local Catholic bishop, shooting him in the head."

A few months after the fall of Mubarak, the ideals of the popular uprising are in danger of being suffocated by radical Islam and counter-revolutionary attempts carried out by men of the former regime. According to Father Greich latter are using the Salafists to create a climate of terror and fear. He stresses, however, that the ideology of radical Islam is spreading even among the main, once moderate, Egyptian Muslim leaders, who are increasingly drawing closer to fringe elements, figures such as Imam Yusuf al-Qaradawi and other members of Muslim Brotherhood.

For Father Greich the popular revolution of 25 February was a great event, but to date there no are leaders who can represent its values. "On the other hand - he says - the aim of the revolution organized by the young people at Tahrir Square was not to replace one regime with another regime."

Meanwhile, AsiaNews sources in Cairo, anonymous for security reasons, explain that the lay movements born after the revolution are fighting with all their might to transform Egypt into a secular state that respects human rights. But they need the support of the international community which must strongly condemn the acts by extremists and, together with the government draw up an aid plan to help revive the Egyptian economy. (S.C.)


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See also
01/25/2012 EGYPT
Tahrir Square flooded by people who want to continue the Jasmine Revolution
07/28/2011 EGYPT
Minya: young pregnant Coptic woman attacked by a Muslim man over Coptic church bell
04/02/2013 EGYPT
Muslim Brotherhood wants to gag every Egyptian, Jasmine Revolution leader says
05/20/2011 EGYPT
Obama's promises are not the only solution to Egypt’s problems
01/21/2012 EGYPT
Egyptian extremists against Copts, two wounded, houses burned and churches attacked

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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