Coptic Pope Says Fear is Driving Christians Out of Egypt

Pope Tawadros II says fear is driving many Coptic Christians to emigrate, attack on St Mark’s Cathedral was mostly due to ‘misunderstanding’

ICC Note: Coptic Pope Tawadros II says fear is driving many Christians to emigrate from Egypt, Ahram Online reports. At least 93,000 Christians have left Egypt following the country’s revolution that led to the political rise of Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the Egyptian Federation of Human Rights.

4/28/2013 Egypt (Ahram Online) – Fear and worry has driven many Coptic Christians to leave Egypt, Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II said in a recorded interview aired on Hayat satellite channel on Saturday.

The emigrants are usually among the most educated and richest in the Christian community and thus Egypt is losing many of its best human assets, the pope added.

Regarding the attack on Christians at St Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, Pope Tawadros said the interior minister had visited the cathedral together with other security officials on 24 April and relations had been reconciled. He added that misjudgements by the security forces during the incident were the main problem.

On 7 April, two people died and at least 90 injured when unknown assailants attacked mourners outside the cathedral in Cairo during a funeral service for four Copts killed in sectarian violence in Qalioubiya, north of Cairo.

Police fired teargas over the cathedral walls and reportedly stood by as unknown assailants armed with birdshot, knives and petrol bombs attacked those inside the cathedral’s grounds.

The pope also said the presidency had rejected statements by presidential aide Essam El-Haddad that Copts had started the cathedral clashes. El-Haddad’s statements were directed to the West in an attempt to excuse the failure of state officials, the pope added.

In a statement written in English, El-Haddad, presidential assistant for foreign relations, claimed the cathedral violence had started after Coptic mourners had vandalised cars on Ramses Street and local people had responded by throwing stones and launching firecrackers.

As for claims the cathedral contained weapons, the pope described this as “nonsense.”

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