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ICC Note:

After several terrorist attacks on churches in Egypt, it would make sense for Coptic Christians to call for the arming of their youth to defend them. However, this is not the case. Despite the Interior Ministry’s offer to train church scouts to play a security role the church leadership has refused. They believe the purpose of the church scouts is to build character in youth. Furthermore the arming of their youth would be misconstrued as an attempt by the church to form an armed military wing, something the church categorically rejects. In all the attacks conducted on Egyptian churches none have uncovered hidden weapons because the church does not believe this is their role but the role of the police. Thus “sick-minded people” can never accuse the Egyptian churches of any military involvement.     

07/07/2017 Egypt (Al-Monitor) – Despite a recent news report, the Coptic Church of Egypt has no intention of arming or training its parishioners to fight, according to Bishop Anba Makarios, the top Coptic Orthodox cleric in Minya governorate.

Terrorist attacks on St. Mark Church in Alexandria, St. George Church in Tanta and St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Cairo have led to widespread fears of recurring violence. In a society highly sensitive to the dangers posed by militias, controversy flared after Al-Dostor reported June 20, “Well-informed church sources revealed that the Egyptian Interior Ministry denied a request from Coptic Church leaders to provide church scouts with military training and training on carrying weapons following the attacks on Copts in Minya last month.”

Observers said it’s possible that some individuals, even individual clergymen, in the church called for arming groups of Christian young people after the attack, but if they did so, it was without the church’s permission. These young people are members of the church scouts — known as kashaafa in Arabic — a youth group designed to build character by providing training in social skills, creativity and self-reliance.

Church leaders have stressed their opposition to having scouts carry weapons, undergo military training or play any formal security role.


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