Militant Muslim Salafists seize church land in Cairo in protest of new Copt leader
Militants seize the South Mina Church in Shubra al-Kheima, in city's center
Nearly 100 Muslim extremists - the hard-line Salafists in Egypt, wielding sticks and rods seized land near the South Mina Church in Shubra al-Kheima last week. The seizure of the land in the middle of Cairo was in protest of the election of the new Copt leader, Patriarch Tawadros II, who was selected in a ceremony last week.
The demonstration deemed symbolic in nature was in reprisal against a statement by newly elected Patriarch Tawadros II against having Sharia law included in the new Egyptian constitution.
The demonstration deemed symbolic in nature was in reprisal against a statement by newly elected Patriarch Tawadros II against having Sharia law included in the new Egyptian constitution. Bishop Antonius Morcos, who is the spokesman for Patriarch Shenouda III's successor, heads the diocese.
"By seizing land that belongs to the Diocese of Shubra al-Kheima, Salafists are sending a warning to the new Coptic patriarch, Tawadros II," Rafic Greiche told AsiaNews. Greiche is the spokesman of the Egyptian Catholic Church. He explained that the latest action by the Muslim extremists is intended to intimidate Shenouda III's successor.
Bishop Antonius Morcos, who leads the diocese, is the Coptic Church media point man as well as new patriarch's spokesman.
"Such an action is nothing new in Egypt, but this is the first time that extremists directly go after a high-profile Coptic prelate," Greiche says.
Patriarch Tawadros II criticized the Islamist stranglehold on the constituent assembly in a written statement. Tawadros says that the Coptic Orthodox Church would oppose any step taken by the constituent assembly to impose Islamic law on the country.
Groups of Christian and Muslim activists have since called on the authorities to arrest the Salafists who carried out the action.
Members of the Maspero Youth Movement and leaders of the Free Egyptian Party appealed to President Morsi to stop such acts, which they claim stir sectarian hatred.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Egypt, Salafists, Cairo, Coptic, Sharia Law, AsiaNews
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