Coptic Catholic Patriarch calls for objective, impartial reporting on Egypt's crisis

2013-08-21 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) With the increase of violent protests in Egypt, sparked by the removal of former president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July, the Christian minority has become a major target for attacks by the former president’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
The attacks against Christian communities have escalated in recent days, allegedly in retaliation for last week’s mass killing of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood protestors at the hands of the same military which removed Morsi from office.
Scores of churches and monasteries have been torched, looted, or destroyed by Morsi supporters. Meanwhile, the death toll continues to rise from these attacks.
In response to this, Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sedrak released a statement on Monday outlining the current crisis in Egypt:
“With pain, but also with hope, the Catholic Church in Egypt is following what our country is experiencing: terrorist attacks, killings and the burning of churches, schools and state institutions. Therefore, out of love for our country and in solidarity with all lovers of Egypt, Christians and Muslims, we are trying to do our best to communicate with friendly organizations around the world to clarify for them the reality of events taking place in our country.”
Among other points, he expressed appreciation for “sincere nations to understand the nature of events while flatly rejecting any attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt or to influence its sovereign decisions, whatever the direction might be.”
Finally, he offered “condolences to all families and relatives of the victims. We ask the Lord to heal all the injured.”
Speaking with Vatican Radio, President of the U.S. Copts Association Michael Meunier gave some context to the situation in the country.
“Egypt is just beginning to get back on the path of peace and democracy,” he said. “Under the Muslim Brotherhood rule, there was no peace or democracy for the majority of Egyptians.”
Contrary to some reports by the Western media, Meunier said, Morsi’s government was not a democratically elected one. Rather, the Muslim Brotherhood party, he said, was won through violations in the election process, and did not reflect the majority of Egyptians.
“What’s happening now in Egypt is not a fight between two gladiators. It’s actually the Muslim Brotherhood deciding it’s either they rule Egypt or they burn Egypt.”
“What’s happening to Christians in Egypt,” he continued, “is the price that we have to pay, and everybody else has to pay, for a long-term freedom. I know everybody’s wondering and worrying about [whether] there will be any freedom under the military rule, but what we know, and what we experienced in the Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt for over a year, is that there was no freedom.”
Listen to the full interview by Susy Hodges with Michael Meunier:

Below is the full text of the message by Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sedrak:

With pain, but also with hope, the Catholic Church in Egypt is following what our country is experiencing: terrorist attacks, killings and the burning of churches, schools and state institutions. Therefore, out of love for our country and in solidarity with all lovers of Egypt, Christians and Muslims, we are trying to do our best to communicate with friendly organizations around the world to clarify for them the reality of events taking place in our country. We would like to express the following:
Our free, strong and conscious support for all state institutions, particularly the armed forces and the police for all their efforts in protecting our homeland.
Our appreciation of sincere nations to understand the nature of events while flatly rejecting any attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt or to influence its sovereign decisions, whatever the direction might be.
Our thanks to all Egyptian and international media that report the news and events objectively and impartially while condemning those media that promote lies and falsify the truth in order to mislead world public opinion.
Our thanks to our honorable Muslim compatriots who have stood by our side, as far as they could, in defending our churches and our institutions.
Lastly, we address the international conscious and all national leaders that they understand and believe that what is happening in Egypt now is not a political struggle between different factions, but a war against terrorism.
In conclusion, we express our condolences to all families and relatives of the victims. We ask the Lord to heal all the injured.
+Ibrahim Isaac
Patriarch of Alexandria for Coptic Catholics
President of the Council of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Egypt