Terrorism is another concern for the Church in Egypt.
“Egyptians are very attentive, as they know that terrorism aims at undermining the unity of our country as well as our shared life with Muslim brothers,” Bishay said.
Despite incidents in which many churches were burned by extremists, “no reaction against the Muslim community came from the Catholic Church,” the bishop reported.
The government of Egypt understands the issue and helps restore the destroyed churches. Christmas 2014 also marked a new outreach from President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who visited a Coptic Orthodox cathedral.
“For the first time ever a president of the Republic of Egypt spent the Christmas night at Mass,” Bishay said.
Egyptian society was also profoundly shocked by the beheading in Libya of 20 Orthodox Coptic faithful and a companion by Islamic State militants in February 2015.
“On one hand, this wound does not only affect the Egyptian society, but the whole world. What has happened is part of a war that is fed by the instrumentalization of religions,” the bishop said, denouncing efforts to kill in the name of God.
On the other hand, he continued, “the example of the Coptic martyrs gave strength and courage to all of us. Instead of creating divisions within the country, the message of the martyrs bore more unity. So much that people do not speak about the shedding of Christian blood, but about the shedding of Egyptian blood.”
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
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