Catholic World News

Coptic bishop: local officials thwart efforts to protect Christians in Egypt

June 02, 2016

A Coptic Orthodox bishop has said that efforts to promote reconciliation between Muslims and Christians in Egypt are being thwarted by local officials who do nothing to ensure the security of the Christian minority.

Bishop Angaelos, the General Bishop of the Coptic community in the United Kingdom, spoke about the response to an incident in the Menia region, in which an elderly woman was stripped naked and paraded through the streets by Muslim militants, because of a rumor that her son was romantically involved with a Muslim woman. The victim has forgiven her attackers, while denying the charge against her son-- a reaction that the bishop described as "both courageous and inspiring."

However, Bishop Angaelos said, the Coptic Church in Egypt is no longer satisfied with "cosmetic" gestures by government officials after such bursts of anti-Christian violence. He said that "superficial measures that aim to pacify will by no means have a lasting effect."

While praising Egypt's President Abdel el-Sisi for his commitment to safeguard Christians, Bishop Angaelos reported that the national leadership faces "the utter disinterest (at best) and/or complicit and criminal negligence (at worst) with which the local security services conducted themselves" in cases of anti-Christian violence.  "Any steps taken at the national level however are severely hampered and undermined by these recurring failures at the local level," he said.  

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