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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Violence outside Saint Mark Cathedral in al-'Abbāsīyyah district of Cairo left at least two dead and around 90 injured. Although the details of the events are not clear, several thousand people were at the Cathedral attending the funeral for the victims of sectarian violence in al-Khusūs (Peter Majdī, al-Tahrīr, April 8, p. 2). Read original text in Arabic.
Last week Libyan authorities detained around 50 Egyptian Christians on the charges of proselytizing Christianity in Libya, which is illegal under Libyan law. The accused deny the charges and insist that all religious materials were for their own use. Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadrous II has been involved in intense discussions with the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to mediate with the Libyan Embassy to secure the release of the Egyptian prisoners. The President of the Egyptian Union for Human Rights Organization Najīb Jubrā’īl has threatened to take what he called escalatory steps to internationalize the case and call attention to the failure of the Arab League in solving the crisis (John ‘Abd al-Malāk, al-Misrīyūn, Mar. 3, p. 3). Read original text in Arabic.
The Coptic youth front has announced the presence of Amīr ‘Ayyād, a Coptic activist missing since the clashes outside the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in al-Muqattam district of Cairo, in intensive care in El Helal Hospital. ‘Ayyād was last seen near al-Nafūrah roundabout in al-Muqattam. Members of the front attempted to contact him but his phone was turned off. His body showed signs of torture similar to those in a previous statement given by another member of CYF, Mīna Sābt. While the CYF holds the Muslim Brotherhood responsible for what happended the Muslim Brotherhood has blamed the Ministry of the Interior. The Front describes the targeting of activists from the Coptic Movements as a response to the pressure exerted over the issue of the Coptic prisoners in Libya. Hānī Jazīrī, co-ordinator for the Movement of Copts for the Sake of Egypt said the kidnapping of activists was a new procedure and would result in groups terrorizing the opposition (‘Abd al-Wahāb Sha'bān, al-Wafd, Mar. 24, p. 3). Read original text in Arabic.
An armed gang has kidnapped a Coptic child, as Copts complain over the state of lawlessness in al-Minya governorate (Muhammad al-Zahrāwī, al-Tahrīr, Mar. 28, p. 10). Read original text in Arabic.