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Priests’ divergent views on Egyptian protests

Catholic World News - February 10, 2011

Msgr. Robert Stern, head of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, and Father Luciano Verdoscia, an Italian missionary in Cairo, offer differing analyses of the protests in Egypt.

Father Verdoscia emphasizes that university graduates who cannot find work form the bulk of the protestors and says that his missionary community “witness[es] to the desire for justice and freedom of this people.”

Msgr. Stern states that “all Christian leaders there are afraid that there will be a repetition of Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein … Some radical Muslims in Egypt may already be taking advantage of the uprising to attack Christians.”

“Christians are definitely being discriminated against,” he adds, noting that it may take years for a Christian congregation to receive a permit to fix a leaky roof. “Whether it is useful to say this publicly, whether it will hurt them more than help them, is a matter for prudential judgment. But in Islam there is no such thing as separation of church and state … For sure, Church leaders are apprehensive — they really are — about an extremist takeover. The best possible outcome for Egypt’s Christians would be a secular regime that was more liberal.”

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