AFRICA/EGYPT – Egyptian Bishop Antonios Mina says Copts have no need of “defense” from abroad
Cairo (Agenzia Fides) – After the massacres of Coptic Christians, disputes and arguments have resumed also in Egypt’s Muslim community. Intellectual Islam Buheiry, known for his criticism of the government and the ‘official’ Islam establishment, has voiced new criticism of the present directors of the Islamic University al Azhar, for its toleration in its programmes of teachings and positions that justify violence towards “infidels”. In the meantime yesterday al Azhar vice secretary Dr Abbas Shoman, affirmed once again that those responsible for violence in churches violate the teachings of Islam and want solely to “destroy Egypt”.
Also for Copt Bishop Anba Antonios Aziz Mina, emeritus of Guizeh, reference to the Palm Sunday massacres aimed at fomenting contraposition between Christians and Muslims is manipulation: “Our country is united” Anba Antonios told Fides “and numerous Muslims are as grieved as we are: this time it is clear that their words are not perfunctory, they were profoundly affected by last Sunday’s events”. The Bishop emeritus of Guizeh says everyone expressed gratitude for the words of Pope Francis and for his decision to confirm his imminent visit to Egypt. But he labels as exploitation declarations of some in the West who insist on the necessity to ‘defend’ Christians in Egypt: “Defend them from what ?”, asks Bishop Antonios Mina, adding: “If there were oppression on the part the State or government, these sort of remarks might make sense. But now it is clear that these terrorists carry out attacks to destabilise the country, and aim to break Egypt’s Christian Muslim harmony. We have no need of outside protection. All we need is not to be divided from our Muslim brothers. They are the ones who can defend us and we must help them and help the police resist against these groups which sow death, hiding behind pseudo-religious ideologies”.
It was Bishop Antonios Aziz Mina who informed Fides (see Fides 17/2/2015) that Copts murdered by so called Islamic state jihadists in Libya in February 2015 died with the name of Christ on their lips. “A Video of the execution” Bishop Anba Antonios said at the time “The video of their execution was like a dreadful mise-en-scene staged to spread terror. Nevertheless, in that diabolic product of bloodthirsty play-acting and horror, some martyrs can clearly be seen to say at the moment of their barbarous execution ‘Lord, Jesus Christ!’. The name of Jesus was their last word. Like the passion of the early martyrs, they entrusted themselves to He, who moments later, would welcome them into his embrace. This was how they celebrated their victory, a victory of which no executioner could ever rob them. With that name, whispered at the very last, their martyrdom was sealed”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 12/4/2017).