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Calm returning to Egypt, says Catholic bishop

CWN - January 11, 2010

“Security has improved” and “the situation is calm” following the slaying of six Coptic Orthodox Christians on January 7, says Coptic Catholic Bishop Youhannes Ezzat Zakaria Badir of Luqsor (Luxor).

“The police arrested the three alleged perpetrators and reinforced security measures,” said Bishop Zakaria. “There is a large presence of policemen and soldiers guarding the places of worship, both Christian and Muslim. The situation is now calm.”

“In our villages, Christians and Muslims live together peacefully,” he added. “Unfortunately a minority of extremists are trying to undermine this coexistence with bloody acts, such as those that occurred on the day of the Orthodox Christmas. In the end, the Christians are the ones who pay. I am not pretending that this situation can be easily resolved: this is our cross.”

In addition, Cardinal Walter Kasper has sent a letter to Coptic Orthodox leader Pope Shenouda III to express his condolences and solidarity.

“With sadness I have heard the tragic news of the death and injury of several Coptic Christians after a Christmas midnight Mass in Nag Hamadi in Upper Egypt,” wrote the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Cardinal Kasper continued:

Please know that I am united in prayer with Your Holiness and with the Coptic Christian Community at this time. Whenever our Christians suffer unjustly it is a wound to the Body of Christ in which all believers share. Together we share this sadness, and together we pray for healing, peace and justice. All Christians must stand united in the face of oppression and seek together the peace that only Christ can give. I pray for the happy repose of the souls of the deceased and the healing of the injured, as well as comfort for the families of the victims.

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