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Egypt's Copts again under attack, but ex-nuncio sees positive strides

Catholic World News - May 20, 2013

Egypt’s Christian minority suffered two more violent assaults during the past week, with bombings at Coptic Orthodox churches in two different towns.

A mob of Muslim militants attacked the church of St. Mary in Alexandria, setting fires and shattering windows with Molotov cocktails. In the village of Menbal another Muslim gang broke into a Coptic church, threw stones, and looted nearby shops owned by Christians. In both cases, the confrontations were traced to personal disputes between Muslim and Christian families, but the attacks on churches showed the precarious position of the Coptic minority. Christians protested that local police took no action to protect them during the assaults.

In a separate story regarding Egyptian Christians, the Vatican’s former representative in the country, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, told a Vatican Radio audience that despite the dangers of Islamic violence, Christians have seen positive steps since the “Arab Spring” uprisings.

“There has been a gain in freedom of expression at least, and the start of a more democratic process,” the archbishop said. “What is missing is the security.”

Archbishop Fitzgerald—who was the apostolic nuncio in Egypt from 2006 until his resignation last year—said that Egypt’s Christians were working together effectively to increase their influence in society. He saw this as a positive result of the Arab Spring: “I think the message to Christians was just that, to be engaged in society, not to act as a minority that is suffering, withdrawn and enclosed in on itself, but to work together with others.”

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  • Posted by: Defender - May. 21, 2013 2:29 AM ET USA

    Arab Spring = Islamic Militants overthrowing secular governments. The former nuncio has an entirely different insight to current events than the Copts I know. Christians throughout the Middle East are ready and willing to leave. They have had enough of the violence, kidnapping, burning, looting and slaying of their own - all the while, no one seems to care or they are asked to tough it out. Unrealistic expectations by the Church seems to be the order of the day.

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