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Developments in Muslim-Christian relations in the Arab world

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
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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.

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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
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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
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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
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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.

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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
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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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9. AWR Daily Overview, April 24, 2013: National Council for Human Rights issues report of Cathedral attack

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9. AWR Daily Overview, April 24, 2013: National Council for Human Rights issues report of Cathedral attack
Date of source: 
April 20, 2013
Author: 
Aidan Mascarenhas-Keyes
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The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR)'s fact-finding committee issued a report about the attack on Saint Mark Cathedral in al-'Abbāsīyyah. The report highlighted that up till now, according to the prosecution, there are no suspects in the incidents, despite filing more than 45 reports from the public. Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II's secretary Bishop Makārī Habīb has criticized the office of the Presidency accusing it of double standards, saying that attacks on Muslim Brotherhood offices go directly to the President, while attacks on places of Christian worship take back seat. The Bishop also accused the Ministry of the Interior of delays in securing the Cathedral, despite requests for protection the day before the event. Members of the fact-finding committee have said they will re-locate to the Cairo Security Department in an effort to obtain more detailed records of the events (Wā’il ‘Alī, al-Misrī al-Yawm, Apr. 24, p. 6). Read original text in Arabic.

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13. AWR Daily Review, April 16, 2013: Khusūs residents accuse police of indiscriminately arresting Muslims, Christians

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13. AWR Daily Review, April 16, 2013: Khusūs residents accuse police of indiscriminately arresting Muslims, Christians
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April 16, 2013
Author: 
Quinta Smit
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Tension has renewed in al-Khusūs after the arbitrary arrest of Muslims and Christians as a scapegoat to end the crisis, threatening to renew an eruption of conditions if they are not released. A number of Muslims and Christians in the region have started collecting signatures for the acquittal of those arrested. Besides facing charges of murder and attempted murder, they face charges of thuggery, use of violence, possession of weapons without a license, disturbing public security, creating panic among citizens, defamation of religions, and igniting the strife (Hasan Sālih, al-Watan, Apr. 16, p. 8). Read original text in Arabic.

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19. AWR Daily Overview, April 17, 2013: Azhar delegation visits Pope to offer condolences for victims of al-Khusūs

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19. AWR Daily Overview, April 17, 2013: Azhar delegation visits Pope to offer condolences for victims of al-Khusūs
Date of source: 
April 17, 2013
Author: 
Quinta Smit
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On Tuesday, April 16, a delegation of Al-Azhar visited Saint Mark Cathedral in al-‘Abbāsīyyah. According to sources of the Church, the visit was to offer condolences to Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II for the victims of al-Khusūs and the clashes at the cathedral. Although the Church had said the visit was postponed indefinitely, the delegation met the Pope. The Church had refused to let journalists cover the meeting (Mustafá Rahūmah, al-Watan, Apr. 17, p. 5). Read original text in Arabic.

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3. AWR Daily Overview, April 23, 2013: Pope Tawadros visits Vatican for first time in 40 years

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3. AWR Daily Overview, April 23, 2013: Pope Tawadros visits Vatican for first time in 40 years
Date of source: 
April 23, 2013
Author: 
Quinta Smit
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After the Easter celebrations, Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II will leave for his first visit to the Diaspora churches in Europe. His trip will start with a visit to Italy and then to the Vatican, where he will meet the new Vatican Pope Francis I. A source of the Church revealed that Pope Tawadros will meet bishops and priests of the diaspora churches in Europe. The source also said that the visit to the Vatican State will be the second visit of the Egyptian Church. Former Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III visited the Vatican in 1973. On May 24, Pope Tawadros will go to Austria where he will give a number of lectures at the Clerical College and meet with Cardinals, politicians, and expatriate Copts (Jamāl Jirgis al-Miuzāhim, al-Yawm al-Sābi', Apr. 23, p. 3). Read original text in Arabic.

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31. AWR Daily Overview, April 19, 2013: “We received promises to pass unified law for worship houses,” says Pope Tawadros

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31. AWR Daily Overview, April 19, 2013: “We received promises to pass unified law for worship houses,” says Pope Tawadros
Date of source: 
April 19, 2013
Author: 
Diana Maher Ghali
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Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros gave his sermon amid tight security measures off Saint Mark Cathedral on Apr. 17. His sermon came as a comment on al-Khusūs and Cathedral incidents. He called Copts to pray for the church, nation and Christians. He said that the authorities promised him to pass the unified law for worship places (Michael Fāris, al-Yawm al-Sābi’, Apr. 19, p. 5). Read original text in Arabic.

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