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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Coptic Christians’

Egypt Coptic Christian Leadership Condemns Western Media Coverage

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

In the face of an unprecedented wave of violence directed against Coptic Christians amid the turmoil in Egypt that has left hundred’s dead, the church’s leadership issued a statement condemning the Western media’s biased coverage of the events in Egypt.

“We strongly denounce the fallacies broadcasted by the Western media and invite them to review the facts objectively regarding these bloody radical organizations and their affiliates instead of legitimizing them with global support and political protection while they attempt to spread devastation and destruction in our dear land,” reads the statement, according to a Google translation.

“We request that the international and western media adhere to providing a comprehensive account of all events with truth, accuracy, and honesty,” the statement added.

The Coptic Church also reaffirmed its support for the military-backed government, calling on the army and security forces to continue their fight against the “armed violent groups and black terrorism.”

One of the oldest communities in Christianity, Coptic Christians have survived numerous persecutions in the past. But the recent violence is unprecedented. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), an independent human rights organization, has documented 39 attacks against Coptic Christian churches, schools, monasteries and businesses since late last week, NPR reported.

Coptic Christians constituted a majority of Egypt’s population until the Middle Ages, when Islam, introduced by the Arab invasions in the 7th century, eclipsed their religion. Today, Coptic Christianity comprises nearly 10 percent of Egypt’s 85 million people, making it the largest single Christian community remaining in the Middle East.

Imam: Pope Must Say ‘Islam is Peaceful’ to Renew Ties With Islam

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

The leader of Islam’s most important university and also the Egyptian mosque by the same name, Al-Azhar, has offered to renew relations with the Vatican.  The olive branch came with a note: first Pope Francis should publicly declare that “Islam is a peaceful religion.”

The Muslim world severed ties with the Catholic Church in 2006. Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned this spring, discussed an incident in which Islam’s prophet, Mohammed, was described as a warmonger who spread evil teachings.  The Muslim world did not like that. Relations resumed a few years later, but were broken off again in 2011, when Pope Benedict publicly denounced the bombing of a church in Alexandria, Egypt.  More than 20 people were killed in that bombing, and nearly 100 additional church goers were wounded.

Ahmed al-Tayeb is the grand Imam of al-Azhar and also the president of al-Azhar University.  Through his diplomatic envoy, Mahmour Abdel Gawad, al-Tayeb made an overture to Pope Francis.  He explained that Islam does not have a problem with the papacy, the problem was with the prior pope.  Gawad made it clear, however, that the first step to re-establishing the relationship had to be taken by the Vatican. He said,

Francis is a new pope. We are expecting a step forward from him. If in one of his addresses he were to declare that Islam is a peaceful religion, that Muslims are not looking for war or violence, that would be progress in itself.

But given that the break with the Catholic Church was over Islam’s violent persecution of Copts in Egypt, the Copts understandably suggest that it is wholly within al-Tayeb and his followers’ ability to mend the breach. The Copts are a persecuted minority in Egypt, thousands of whom are fleeing their Egyptian homeland because of that persecution.

The Voice of the Copts is an American and Italian-based organization of Copts which opposes the spread of global Islam. The Copts are the largest Christian sect in Egypt, and they constitute approximately 15 percent of the Egyptian population, and they date back to the era immediately following the death of Jesus.

The Copts do not see themselves as Arab, but instead as non-Arab descendents of the ancient civilization of Egypt, who are Christian.

Within days of al-Tayeb’s offer to restart relations with the Catholic Church by imposing a precondition on Rome, an organization called Voice of the Copts offered an alternative: al-Tayeb should instead

issue a formal, public statement directed to his followers in the Arabic language conveying an unequivocal message that Muslims attacking Christians in Egypt do not conform to a tenet of Islam and will no longer be tolerated. A clear denunciation of Muslim sectarian violence against Christians in Egypt by Sunni religious leaders would be welcomed as Al-Azhar seeks the Pope’s endorsement of Muslim non-violence.

Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, founder and president of Voice of the Copts, an organization made up of many thousands, said that it is up to Islam’s leaders to ensure that the religion’s followers are peaceful, because at the moment Islam is “a religion that many around the world see as warmongering and violent.”

Al-Tayeb had suggested that if Pope Francis intended to visit Egypt to meet with Pope Tawadros II, the pontiff should also come visit with him at al-Azhar.

Pope Tawadros traveled to Rome and met with Pope Francis last month.  It was the first meeting between leaders of the two churches in 40 years.

While the head of al-Azhar said he would look forward to meeting with the head of Church of Rome, he said that he was not interested in a sit-down with all three heads of the world’s main monotheistic religions, an idea that had been floated by the Vatican.  He said Al-Azhar “will not take part in any meeting with Israelis.”

Sadly enough, the current Coptic Orthodox Pope, like the last, is at one with al-Tayeb on this point.  He continues the position his predecessor had of opposing normalization with Israel. He said in November, 2012, shortly after his election, that “We won’t encourage Copts to visit Jerusalem, as we can’t accept the idea of Copts selling out the Arab cause.”

When The Jewish Press asked Dr. Rameleh about this point, he responded in an email, saying, “I can’t say enough about how disappointed we are that Pope Tawadros II followed in the footsteps of Pope Shenouda II before him on the issue of Israel.  There is no excuse for this at all. Voice of the Copts is clear on standing against this ‘Arab cause’ position and the boycott of travel to Israel.

Middle East Wrap-Up: No Deals with Hamas, Attack on Sudan Convoy

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Netanyahu: No peace talks if Hamas joins PA government

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Sunday that he would refuse to negotiate with a Palestinian government that included representatives of the Islamist terrorist group Hamas.

Click photo to download. Caption: Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: PD.Netanyahu made the remarks just days after Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo to discuss the restructuring of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Palestinian umbrella body whose largest faction is Abbas’ Fatah, so as to include Hamas.

Speaking to Israeli diplomats in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said: “If Hamas joins the Palestinian government, I will not hold peace negotiations. Progress would have to be made in keeping with the current security arrangements, which are getting more and more difficult to maintain in light of the regional turmoil.”

Israeli politician’s car hit with firebombs

Kadima politician Otnier Schneller’s vehicle was firebombed twice last week as he was driving near the Binaymin community of Ofra. He was headed to a Hanukkah celebration at his daughter’s home with his wife and two grandchildren when the attacks occurred.

Neither of the bombs actually hit the vehicle although both fell very close. Schneller has been targeted with similar firebombs three times in the past already.

“Fortunately, MK Schneller was unhurt but this is not self-evident. The left and the media have forgotten who Israel’s real enemies are. When you shed the blood of settlers for two weeks, generalize and blame everyone for price tag incidents, it’s no wonder that Arab terrorism has reared its head. The terrorists understand the signs,” a statement by the National Union party said.

Salafists in Egypt shift gears, condemn ties with Israel

Egypt’s ultra-conservative Islamist party Al-Nour shifted gears on the Israel-Egypt peace treaty on Sunday, saying they will “stand firmly against normalization between the two countries in all forms, and are against ties with any entity that wants to harm the Egyptian identity,” according to Israel Hayom.

The statement came after the Salafist Al-Nour’s spokesman Dr. Yusari Hamad gave an interview last week to Israel Army Radio in which he stated that all Al-Nour supports peace with Israel. The interview caused an uproar in the Egyptian press and prompted the party to clarify their position. The party will work to change clauses in the treaty “in a legitimate manner,” according to the statement on Sunday.

Al-Nour is currently in second place after the more moderate Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party which earned around 40% of the votes.

After the interview aired last week, Hamad told The Associated Press that he did not know he was talking to Israeli Army Radio, and he was only told it was for an Israeli broadcaster. He claimed that had he known, he would not have agreed to the Army Radio interview because “they occupy our Palestinian brothers.”

Israel attacks Gaza-bound arms convoy in Sudan

The Israel Air Force recently struck two vehicles in eastern Sudan that were smuggling Iranian weapons to Gaza, according to Sudanese media reports published on Sunday.

Sudanese government and army officials have denied that any such attack occurred, and Israeli officials were remaining mum on the reports, Israel Hayom reported.

According to Sudanese newspaper Al-Intibaha on Sunday, quoting sources from local tribes who witnessed the attacks, the first IAF strike took place about 10 days ago, targeting a convoy of six Land Cruiser SUVs. Four people were killed and two cars were completely destroyed, the report said.

The second attack, according to the newspaper, took place last Sunday, hitting a Toyota and killing everyone in it. The people in the car, however, were reported to be “gold seekers” and not arms smugglers.

While there was no official Israeli response to Sunday’s Sudanese report, defense officials have, for some time, been closely monitoring the Iran-Hamas smuggling route which routinely passes through Sudan.

Coptic Christians face persecution in Egypt

Middle East experts are warning that Coptic Christians might face greater persecution in the wake of recent unrest in Egypt, the Wall Street Journal reported. Recently, Egyptian mobs have looted Coptic churches, homes and shops, and burned churches.

Things have been historically not easy for this minority in this predominantly Muslim country. Islamists traditionally view Coptic Christians as “kafirs,” meaning “nonbelievers” in Arabic. In February, 2011, 23-year-old Coptic Christian Kirolos Andraws was attacked by thugs on an Egyptian street and told he deserves to die for refusing to convert to Islam. This forced Andraws to escape to the U.S. on a tourist visa and seek political asylum.  “I have no other option,” he said.

A Muslim cleric already cut off the ear of one Christian man, justifying the deed in Islamic law.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/middle-east-wrap-up-no-deals-with-hamas-attack-on-sudan-convoy/2011/12/30/

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