Arrest of Coptic Victims 'Deviation' From Justice, Says Egyptian Evangelical Leader

Rev. Dr. Safwat el-Bayadi, head of the Evangelical community in Egypt, described the arrest of Copts in wake of recent attacks in Cairo as a "deviation from the course of justice."

Rev. Bayadi said the judiciary must be fair and that the trial of victims is not acceptable. He pointed out the institution of the presidency cares only for improving the image of the regime, explaining that this is why the presidency releases English statements to address the West while it does not care about the homeland.

According to Rev. Bayadi, Christians still live in the era of martyrdom. Although he stresses the tolerance and forgiveness of Copts towards their aggressors, it does not give aggressors permission to repeat their assaults.

Speaking to MCN, Rev. Bayadi rejected the customary meetings, which do not usually lead to radical solutions, and are just used to defuse crises while calling for current laws to be enforced.

"We do not refrain from reconciliation, but offenders must be punished so the same mistakes are not repeated. Otherwise, courts will be useless, especially since we do not take revenge ourselves. The judiciary has to restore our rights or perpetrators will continue their assaults," Rev. Bayadi explained.

"Unfortunately, some people take advantage of the tolerance of Christians. We learned from our faith to say in the Lord's Prayer 'as we forgive those who trespass against us,'" Rev. Bayadi noted.

"But that does not mean we give permission to aggressors to repeat their assaults on us. When we accept customary reconciliation it is to make the aggressors ashamed and urge them not to repeat an assault, but if they do not feel ashamed, the judiciary must then hold them accountable. That is why God has organized rulers, to be fair and seek justice."

Rev. Bayadi said the time is over to leave wounds unhealed. Christians have suffered a lot and have been patient. Pope Shenouda was like a mountain that bore what many human beings could not, he added.

"At the time of incidents suffered by the church under Pope Shenouda, we used to visit him to comfort him though we were furious from such incidents. But we always found him strong and he did not say a single negative word. Although innocent Christians were killed, Pope Shenouda and the church patiently endured. We have said that the era of martyrdom is over, but it seems that we still live in it," Rev. Bayadi explained.

Bayadi said the weak security presence around the Baptist and Orthodox churches in Khosos was one of the reasons for the development of attacks on Copts nearly two weeks ago.

Rev. Bayadi said the statement by the presidential institution in English was addressing foreign countries to calm them and improve the image of the regime in their eyes.

"The presidency disregarded addressing the people of Egypt as it is supposed to. The house that is not built by its people cannot be built by outsiders," Rev. Bayadi added.

Rev. Bayadi noted the mourners did not carry weapons, and were overcome with feelings of sadness and weakness and that officials should have understood their position, rather than deal with them violently.