Attacks Against Cathedral Should Not Pass Unnoticed, Says Coptic Pope

Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria exclaimed that the recent attacks on Coptics in the country should not go unnoticed, and those responsible should be brought to justice.

"The aggression against the cathedral should not pass unnoticed and be forgotten ... it is a serious matter of the greatest extent and it will remain a shame that will not be forgotten in Egyptian history." His Holiness told Mideast Christian News.

"I call on the officials to take realistic positions, as there have been no realistic consequences 10 days after the incident, an issue that has increased the frustration and pain among Copts," His Holiness Pope Tawadros II continued.

"Copts suffer from a number of problems, including the crisis regarding the building of churches, the fragile law that cannot control the community and religious discrimination in different positions of the Egyptian state," he added.

After his meeting with the representatives of the national and democratic trend on Tuesday, the Coptic patriarch said the attacks undermine the image of Egypt in the world.

"What concerns me is the image of Egypt, as the attacks against the cathedral, which is the oldest and largest church in the East, came after the aggression against Copts in Khosos," he explained. "Such attacks undermined the image of Egypt in front of the world, and could affect the economy, aid, and tourism. They put Egypt in the ranks of countries that are far from the law and human rights. These repercussions pain me as Egyptian, as I love Egypt and every Egyptian citizen, Muslims and Christians."

"Such issues cannot be resolved without reconciliation, especially when the law is undermined. What can we do? It is required to allow people to make a living. We have no other way to ease the suffering of the poor citizens and to allow him to go out of his house, but a state of panic is prevalent in citizens due to the current insecurity and the absence of law," His Holiness said regarding the customary reconciliation session conducted in Khosos.

He also commented on the arrest of a Copt over the accusation of involvement in the cathedral incident, saying: "I refuse the violations and the security imbalances, as they could lead us to the outside of the circle of law. We should avoid such treatment."

Pope Tawdros II added that he met with representatives of the national and democratic trends in Egypt's Shura Council and clarified that they expressed their condolences for the martyrs who were killed in the attacks against Copts in Khosos and St Mark's Cathedral.

"The talk was candid without compliments. We discussed a number of problems from which the Egyptian community suffers. It is agreed that a serious stand is needed to resolve these problems that are growing every day," His Holiness added.

"We mentioned the report prepared by Gamal El-Ateefy which submitted solutions for such problems since the Khanka incident of 1972, but it has not been taken into account. A large number of incidents have accumulated to expand the circle of sectarian violence and sectarian sedition, and the law has not been implemented, which has increased the anger and frustration of Copts," His Holiness concluded.