Churches reject calls for international protection for ‘persecuted’ Copts

Emad Khalil
28/06/2011

Representatives of the three Egyptian Churches and several Coptic activists condemned on Tuesday a demand made to the US Congress by some expatriate Copts calling for international protection for Coptic Christians in Egypt.

Bishop Markos of Shubra al-Kheima told Al-Masry Al-Youm that he rejects the demands. “Copts fall under the protection of the Egyptian state, and Muslims and Christians in Egypt fall under the protection of God, who mentioned Egypt and its people in the Quran and the Bible.”

Bishop Antonios Aziz of the Catholic Church in Giza also rejected the demands for international protection, saying, “Our internal problems will not be solved by seeking outside help. When there is a problem at home it must be solved by the occupants of that home.”

Aziz stressed that the Copts “will stand against any attempts to interfere with national sovereignty.” He went on to say that the US Congress “cannot force Egypt to change its policies on certain issues.”

Aziz said that the Copts have confidence in the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. “There is no justification for the argument made by Copts abroad for international protection,” he said.

The Bishop said that if Copts abroad claim that Egyptian Christians are being prosecuted then they must provide evidence. “There are some cases of injustice,” he said, “but there is no systematic persecution by the state or its citizens against Copts.”

Aziz said that “the demands of expatriate Copts do not represent those of Copts in Egypt,” adding that those making these demands “represent only themselves, and no one asked them to speak on our behalf or to defend us.”

Refaat Fekry, the pastor of the Evangelical Church in Shubra, said, “The Egyptian state must play its role in obstructing those making these demands.”

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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