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Alexandria church bombing sparks world outrage: The Church of England Newspaper, Jan 7, 2011 p 1. January 12, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Coptic Orthodox, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Terrorism.
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Pope Shenouda III

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Church and government leaders around the world have condemned the New Year’s Eve bombing of a Coptic Church in Alexandria that has killed 23 people.

The Egyptian police believe a lone bomber detonated a bomb outside the Coptic Church of the Saints killing himself and 20 others instantly.  Two others have since died from their wounds, while over 100 were injured in the attack.

The attack has prompted strong reactions from Egypt’s Christian minority, with Copts accusing the government of ignoring warnings from al Qaeda linked groups that they planned on targeting Christians.  ‘We cannot prevent people from expressing their sorrow, yet I ask them to express their feelings without violence,’ said Pope Shenouda III, in a Jan 3 interview on state television, after protestors clashed with police for a third day in a row in protest to the attacks.

“I call on our sons for calm, as calm can solve all issues,” Pope Shenouda said, according to a transcript of his address released by the state news agency.

Writing from Cairo on Jan 1, the President Bishop of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Bishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt offered the condolences of Anglicans to Pope Shenouda.

Dr. Anis stated that it was “very clear from the nature of this attack that it was planned by Al Qaeda, especially after the threats that were made against Egypt after the attacks on the church in Baghdad on 31 October 2010.”

Anglicans in Egypt were cooperating with the security services to improve church security, he noted, and had installed barriers and security cameras.  “We are not used to such measures, but we have been requested to do this,” the bishop said.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams condemned the attack as “yet another dreadful reminder of the pressure Christian minorities are under in the Middle East, echoing the atrocities we have seen in recent weeks.”

We “know the long and honourable history of co-existence of Christians and Muslims in Egypt and are confident that the overwhelming majority of Egyptian people will join in condemning this and similar acts,” Dr. Williams said.

Speaking to a crowd gathered in St Peter’s square on Jan 2, Pope Benedict XVI said the Alexandria bombing was a “vile and murderous gesture … offends God and all humankind.”

“In the face of these strategies of violence, which aim against Christians but have consequences on the entire population, I pray for the victims and their relatives, and encourage ecclesial communities to persevere in the faith and in the witness of non-violence which comes to us from the Gospel,” the pope said.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Department of External Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion said that there was no “doubt this atrocity is aimed at further fomentation of interreligious enmity. The confrontation that the terrorists mean to enkindle by their actions brings nothing but grief, tears and suffering and threatens the human race with self-destruction.”

The bombing has also sparked reactions from Egypt’s moderate Muslim community.  On Jan 3 the influential Cairo newspaper Al-Ahram in an editorial entitled “J’Accuse!” attacked Egyptian society’s indifference to the growth of militant Islam.

“I am no Zola, but I too can accuse,” editor Hani Shukrallah  wrote, denouncing government corruption and cynicism in dealing with fundamentalists.

“But most of all, I accuse the millions of supposedly moderate Muslims among us; those who’ve been growing more and more prejudiced, inclusive, and narrow-minded with every passing year.”

“I accuse those among us who would rise up in fury over a decision to halt construction of a Muslim Center near ground zero in New York, but applaud the Egyptian police when they halt the construction of a staircase in a Coptic church in the Omranya district of Greater Cairo.”

He also accused “the liberal intellectuals, both Muslim and Christian who, whether complicit, afraid, or simply unwilling to do or say anything that may displease ‘the masses’, have stood aside, finding it sufficient to join in one futile chorus of denunciation… even as the massacres spread wider, and grow more horrifying.”

Unless steps were taken immediately, Al Ahram warned, Egyptian society would collapse in a welter of sectarian madness.

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[…] church bombing sparks world outrage: The Church of … Alexandria church bombing sparks world outrage: The Church of England Newspaper, Jan 7, 2011 p 1. January 12, […]

2. Alexandria church bombing sparks world outrage: The Church of … | Church Outreach Ministry - January 15, 2011

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