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Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II accused the security apparatuses of negligence and criticizes the media for the exaggeration of events and enlarging any argument between a Muslim and Christian to fitnah tā’ifīyah, according to Mamdūh Ramzī, a [Coptic] member of the Shūrá Council.
Pope Tawadros met with members of parliament from the opposition parties and independents at Saint Mark Cathedral in al-‘Abbāsīyyah yesterday (April 17, 2013). Ramzī said that the Pope was very clear and did not flatter anyone. The Pope’s accusations against the security is due to their failure to protect a religious symbol which never happened before. He also blamed some officials in positions of power for blaming Copts for incidents before the end of an official investigation. Member of Parliament (MP) Nabīl ‘Azmī said that the Pope is in a severe state of grief and holds security and executive power responsible for the events, and accuses them of dragging their feet over saving Egyptian lives in general. The MP points out that the Pope has repeatedly requested the implementation of legislation that protects all Egyptian and issue a law that would protect worship houses, as well as implementing articles of the Constitution guaranteeing freedom of worship. MP ‘Azmī said that Coptic member of parliament would push this agenda in the next parliamentary session (Yāsir Ibrāhīm, al-Wafd, April 18, p. 3). Read original text in Arabic.
Repeatedly we hear of reports that Muslims are attacking Christians. One such recent report is a clash in Alexandria in which one Christian died from a heart attack. “A fight started between two young men, one Copt and the other Muslim, when the Copt allegedly sexually harassed the latter's sister. It is not clear from this report what this harassment entailed. The parties involved in the fight reportedly used Molotov cocktails and machine guns” (Full story here).
A number of priests and political groups participated in marches yesterday (May 18, 2013) calling for the withdrawal of confidence for President Muhammad Mursī (Mursi) in Shubrā. Estimates show that about half a million of Copts have signed the petition. This campaign is scheduled to continue until June 30 as priests are urging more Copts to sign the petition in spite of their non-interference in politics (Mustafá Sha'bān and Nuhá 'Uthmān, al-Misrīyūn, May 19, p. 3). Read original text in Arabic.
A number of Christians filed police reports to Luxor Police Station about armed robberies on their lands from gangs. Christians had doubts that the police ignored their reports because months have passed on the robberies without an action. (Muhammad ‘Abd al-Latīf al-Saghīr, al-Watan, May 14, p. 3). Read original text in Arabic.
We appreciate Mr. Cornelis Hulsman's respect to the feelings of all Christian clerics, whom we also respect, and we respect that he might have used -unintentionally or not knowing the words’ significance in the Arabic language- words that discredited them. However, this does not deny that the word "double-faced" that he used to describe [the late Coptic Orthodox] Pope Shenouda [III] is the word that he used and we did not make this word up. Also the word "sectarian" that he used to describe [Coptic Orthodox] Bishop Bishoy (Bīshūy) is the exact expression that he mentioned and not invented from us. Finally, the interview was sent to him in full text and he read it before publication.
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Coptic Orthodox Archbishop Pachomius of al-Beheira said that Egyptian Muslim is more Muslim than any other Muslim in the world. He also called on all Egyptians to work together for the national interest. Many military figures attended Easter celebrations on May 5 at Damanhūr of al-Beheira Governorate. such as Maj. Gen. Muhammad Habīb, head of al-Beheira Security Department, representing Mukhtār al-Hamalāwī, Beheira Governor (Fāyzah al-Janbīhī, al-Akhbār, May 6, p. 5). Read original text in Arabic.
Public Prosecutor Counselor Tal’at ‘Abdullah assigned the First Attorney General of Luxor Prosecution to investigate the report against Dimīyānah ’Ubayd, teacher of social studies in al-Shaykh Sultan School in Luxor Governorate, accusing her of discrediting Prophet Muhammad and proselytizing Christianity (Muhammad Hamīlī, al-Misrīyūn, May 8, p. 11). Read original text in Arabic.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) expressed its concern about the status of religious minorities and religious freedoms in Egypt. USCIRF's 2013 Annual Report stated despite the progress made by the transitional government in advancing religious freedoms, and a noticeable decrease in deaths and injuries related to sectarian violence, systematic abuse of religious minorities continues. It states that the government has failed to protect religious minorities from violence and legislation remains backward, despite some progress in the granting of identity papers to Bahā’īs and converts to Christianity, and the government has not sufficiently addressed the anti-Semitism in state media. The report observed that just as under the previous government, the government controls religious associations like mosques and places of worship. It urged the U.S. to put pressure on the government to prosecute the perpetrators of sectarian violence, to reform to improve religious freedoms, and to guarantee the security of religious minorities, and for the U.S. to stop considering religious affairs as Egypt internal affairs. The report also called for a postponement of military aid to Egypt until the government proves it is enacting policies to protect religious freedoms and human rights. U.S. Republican Congressmen Chris Smith (Author’s note: al-Misrī al-Yawm made an error, honorable Chris Smith is from the House of Representatives not a Senate) said that the U.S. will do more to ensure that aid is not used to commit serious human and religious rights abuses ('Alā’ ‘Abdullah, al-Misrī al-Yawm, May 2, p. 4). Read original text in Arabic.
Security apparatuses in al-Minya Governorate took tight security measures in al-Barshā village of al-Mallawī Township (Minya Governorate) after a Coptic youth was killed by a Muslim. Security forces cordoned the village to prevent any more clashes in the village (‘Alī Husayn and Najlā’ Fathī, al-Dustūr, May 12, p. 12). Read original text in Arabic.
Al-Misrīyūn reported on [Coptic Orthodox] Pope Tawadros II’s two-weeks visit to the Vatican Pope on Thursday, May 9. Bishop Raphael, Secretary of the Holy Synod, Bishop Pachomius of al-Beheira and Father Angelous Ishāq, his personal secretary will accompany him (John ‘Abd al-Malāk, al-Misrīyūn, May 9, p. 5). Read original text in Arabic.