Developments in Muslim-Christian relations in the Arab world

39. AWR Daily Overview, May 2, 2013: U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom: Egypt's protection of minorities is concerning

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39. AWR Daily Overview, May 2, 2013: U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom: Egypt's protection of minorities is concerning
Date of source: 
May 2, 2013
Author: 
Calum Humphreys
Article summary: 

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) expressed its concern about the status of religious minorities and religious freedoms in Egypt. USCIRF's 2013 Annual Report stated despite the progress made by the transitional government in advancing religious freedoms, and a noticeable decrease in deaths and injuries related to sectarian violence, systematic abuse of religious minorities continues. It states that the government has failed to protect religious minorities from violence and legislation remains backward, despite some progress in the granting of identity papers to Bahā’īs and converts to Christianity, and the government has not sufficiently addressed the anti-Semitism in state media. The report observed that just as under the previous government, the government controls religious associations like mosques and places of worship. It urged the U.S. to put pressure on the government to prosecute the perpetrators of sectarian violence, to reform to improve religious freedoms, and to guarantee the security of religious minorities, and for the U.S. to stop considering religious affairs as Egypt internal affairs. The report also called for a postponement of military aid to Egypt until the government proves it is enacting policies to protect religious freedoms and human rights. U.S. Republican Congressmen Chris Smith (Author’s note: al-Misrī al-Yawm made an error, honorable Chris Smith is from the House of Representatives not a Senate) said that the U.S. will do more to ensure that aid is not used to commit serious human and religious rights abuses ('Alā’ ‘Abdullah, al-Misrī al-Yawm, May 2, p. 4). Read original text in Arabic.

20. AWR Daily Overview, May 12, 2013: Muslim kills Copt in Minya

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20. AWR Daily Overview, May 12, 2013: Muslim kills Copt in Minya
Date of source: 
May 12, 2013
Author: 
Diana Maher Ghali
Article summary: 

Security apparatuses in al-Minya Governorate took tight security measures in al-Barshā village of al-Mallawī Township (Minya Governorate) after a Coptic youth was killed by a Muslim. Security forces cordoned the village to prevent any more clashes in the village (‘Alī Husayn and Najlā’ Fathī, al-Dustūr, May 12, p. 12). Read original text in Arabic.

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31. AWR Daily Overview, May 3, 2013: Army isn't tainted by extremist thoughts, says Pope Tawadros

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31. AWR Daily Overview, May 3, 2013: Army isn't tainted by extremist thoughts, says Pope Tawadros
Date of source: 
May 3, 2013
Author: 
Quinta Smit
Article summary: 

Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II praised the Armed Forces for not having been tainted by extremist thoughts or acts of rebellion. The Pope considers the armed forces to play the main role in protecting the nation from any outside interference. During a dialogue issued by the security forces on Thursday, May 2, the Pope called for co-existence in peace and indiscriminate implementation of the law. He expressed his fear for a state established on the principle of religion. Pope Tawadros also blamed state bodies for not developing concrete solutions for the current crisis. He asked the Ministry of Interior to apologize for accusing Copts for causing the incidents at Saint Mark's Cathedral (Author not mentioned, al-Misrī al-Yawm, May 3, p. 1). Read original text in Arabic.

17. AWR Daily Overview, May 9, 2013: Pope Tawadros seeks partnership with Vatican

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17. AWR Daily Overview, May 9, 2013: Pope Tawadros seeks partnership with Vatican
Date of source: 
May 9, 2013
Author: 
Diana Maher Ghali
Article summary: 

Al-Misrīyūn reported on [Coptic Orthodox] Pope Tawadros II’s two-weeks visit to the Vatican Pope on Thursday, May 9. Bishop Raphael, Secretary of the Holy Synod, Bishop Pachomius of al-Beheira and Father Angelous Ishāq, his personal secretary will accompany him (John ‘Abd al-Malāk, al-Misrīyūn, May 9, p. 5). Read original text in Arabic

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18. AWR Daily Overview, May 4, 2013: Sorrows of Khusūs, Cathedral clouds Coptic Easter celebrations

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18. AWR Daily Overview, May 4, 2013: Sorrows of Khusūs, Cathedral clouds Coptic Easter celebrations
Date of source: 
May 4, 2013
Author: 
Myles Ormerod
Article summary: 

Yesterday (May 3, 2013), thousands of Copts took part in the Good Friday Prayer in churches and monasteries in Daqahlia Governorate whilst Dr. 'Alī 'Abd al-Rahmān, the governor of Giza, visited the Coptic Catholic Diocese Headquarters to offer praise for Easter. Meanwhile today (May 4), celebrations were prepared by the Evangelical Church of Egypt at Nasr City Church for Easter. Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II has just returned from Saint Bishoy (Bīshūy) Monastery in Wādī al-Natrūn two days ago. He met with a number of leaders from the Ministry of Interior to discuss the securing of Coptic Orthodox Saint Mark Cathedral. He will also head to the Easter Mass at nine o'clock in the evening. The Muslim Brotherhood stressed that they have not received an invitation to attend the Holy Easter Mass, and explained that their decision was influenced by differing doctrinal attitudes, and not political ones ('Imād Khalīl, Fādī Francis, Ghādah 'Abd al-Hāfiz and Sa'īd Nāfi', al-Misrī al-Yawm, May 4, p. 3). Read original text in Arabic.

15. AWR Daily Overview, May 5, 2013: Holy Week has passed, Copts' pain continues, says Archpriest Bishoy

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15. AWR Daily Overview, May 5, 2013: Holy Week has passed, Copts' pain continues, says Archpriest Bishoy
Date of source: 
May 5, 2013
Author: 
Calum Humphreys
Article summary: 

Archpriest Bishoy (Bīshūy), Secretary General of the Egyptian Council of Churches, stated his concerns about the sectarian tensions in Egypt. He reasoned the creation of the Egyptian Council of Churches to unite the various elements of the Christian community on theological, legal and scientific issues, as well as promoting dialogue with Muslim. He stated that the new council is not an NGO or a political group, and that it fulfills all the necessary legal requirements. Father Bishoy believes that there is a need for the Coptic community to speak with a unified voice in order to highlight what he sees as the ongoing discrimination against the Copts in all levels of government and society. He emphasized the need for broader education and a more diverse media concerning religious issues to tackle this discrimination which remains present after January 25 Revolution. Bishop Bishoy's comments were made in light of recent attacks upon the Coptic community, notably the fatwás issued by some Islamic scholars against greeting Christians in Easter (Ahmad al-Sa'dāwī, al-Shurūq al-Jadīd, May 5, p. 4). Read orginal text in Arabic.

1. AWR Daily OVerview, May 7, 2013: Dār al-Iftā’: Festive greets to Copts is Islamic duty

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1. AWR Daily OVerview, May 7, 2013: Dār al-Iftā’: Festive greets to Copts is Islamic duty
Date of source: 
May 7, 2013
Author: 
Diana Maher Ghali
Article summary: 

Azhar Scholars denounced fatwás banning greeting non-Muslims on their feasts, stressing that Copts have the right for citizenship.

In addition, Dār al-Iftā’ pointed out that festive greets to Copts is a duty for Muslims and is considered kindness in Islam (Sanā’ Hashīsh, al-Wafd, May 7, p. 4). Read original text in Arabic.

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3. AWR Daily Overview, April 30, 2013: Muslim Brotherhood Muftī bans greeting Christians in Easter, Copts consider it incitement to hatred

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3. AWR Daily Overview, April 30, 2013: Muslim Brotherhood Muftī bans greeting Christians in Easter, Copts consider it incitement to hatred
Date of source: 
April 30, 2013
Author: 
Diana Maher Ghali
Article summary: 

Dr. ‘Abd al-Rahmān al-Barr, member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Office (al-Irshād Office), issued a fatwá banning greeting Copts in Easter. The Muslim Brotherhood Muftī continued that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is against Muslims’ doctrine because Jesus or ‘Isá (as Muslims say) did not die and was not crucified, so Muslims can not greet Christians with something that they do not believe in. As for other feasts, he added, like Christmas, Muslims can greet Christians because it does not conflict with Muslims’ doctrine (Hānī al-Wazīrī and Mustafá Rahūmah, al-Watan, Apr. 30, p. 16). Read original text in Arabic

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44. Upper Egypt: A Pictorial Travelogue

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44. Upper Egypt: A Pictorial Travelogue
Date of source: 
May 1, 2013
Author: 
Jayson Casper
Article summary: 

From April 25-28 I traveled with Arab West Report through a few Upper Egyptian Holy Family sites, places Mary, Joseph, and Jesus are recorded to have stayed according to Coptic tradition. This travelogue will share some of the insights and anecdotes learned along the way, by means of pictures taken at each location.

39. AWR Daily Overview, April 21, 2013: Tight security measures after information of bombing 2 churches in Alexandria

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39. AWR Daily Overview, April 21, 2013: Tight security measures after information of bombing 2 churches in Alexandria
Date of source: 
April 20, 2013
Author: 
Aidan Mascarenhas-Keyes
Article summary: 

Tight security was put in place on two Coptic Orthodox churches in Alexandria, after a tip was received, claiming that a bomb had been planted in the church. Police have surrounded the church to protect it from attack. According to Joseph Malāk, a church official, the news contributed to the sense of fear, resentment and worry surrounding the local Coptic community and there have even been attempts at sabotage within the church. Dr. Kamīl Sadīq, member of the Coptic Church Milī (Lay) Council says that if the bomb had exploded it would have been a catastrophe, and described the finding of the bomb as a disaster (Muhammad Mijallī, al-Tahrīr, April 21, p. 14). Read original text in Arabic.

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