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14 January 2010

Egypt: Gunmen Planned to Assassinate Coptic Bishop

3169e38.gifGunmen who killed 7 Egyptian Christians on January 6 were apparently aiming to assassinate the Coptic Bishop Anba Kirollos

The shooting of worshippers at a Coptic church in Nag Hammadi, where Coptic Christians were preparing to celebrate Christmas according to the Orthodox liturgical calendar, apparently began when the would-be assassins were unable to reach the bishop. Bishop Kirollos had received several death threats, according to AsiaNews.

At the funeral of the shooting victims, Coptic parishioners threw stones at police. Christians have bitterly complained that officials failed to protect them from Islamic extremists.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has sent a message to His Holiness Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, expressing his sorrow for the attacks on Coptic Christians that took place in Nag Hamadi, Egypt.

qena dead.jpg"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. Please know that I am united in prayer with Your Holiness and with the Coptic Christian Community at this time." The Cardinal said in a message carried by Fides.

At the same time, Archbishop Youhannes Zakaria, Coptic Catholic Bishop of Luxor, Upper Egypt has thanked the local police for their work, according to Fides.

"The police arrested the 3 alleged perpetrators and reinforced security measures. There is a large presence of policemen and soldiers guarding the places of worship, both Christian and Muslim. The situation is now calm," Bishop Zakaria is quoted saying. "There was also a positive meeting held between Christian and Muslim religious leaders in which they reaffirmed their universal commitment to peace and reconciliation."

"Even the funeral of the 6 Christians has been a useful opportunity to highlight the importance of peaceful coexistence. A Christian delegation attended the funeral of the Muslim soldier who was guarding the place of Christian worship and was killed in the shootout. It was a very touching moment," added the bishop.

qena20100130.jpgqena ganaz.jpg"In our villages Christians and Muslims live together peacefully. 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." stressed Bishop Zakaria.

"This is why I ask the universal Christian community to pray for the Christian communities who are in difficulties, in light of what has happened recently here in Egypt, and also in Malaysia and Tunisia. In turn we, the small Christian community of Egypt, pray for European Christians, that they may rediscover the roots of their faith, as we have been taught by John Paul II and Benedict XVI ," concluded Bishop Zakaria.

12:37 Posted in Egypt | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

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