Pope Tawadros II calls upon Coptic movements to choose ‘peaceful struggle’

Ahram Online – 16/3/13

Tawadros II met several Coptic movements to discuss recent crisis in Libya and call upon groups to struggle peacefully.

Coptic Pope Tawadros II has reached out to Coptic youth movements after recent troubles in Libya for the group, saying, “If you choose the route of struggle, then it has to be peaceful.”

Amir Ayad, member of the fact-finding committee on the status of Egyptian Copts in Libya, and also a member of the Coptic Youth Front, said that the pope met with several Coptic groups on Friday and discussed the repercussions of the incident in Libya.

According to Ayad, the pope expressed his “deep concerns” over the situation of Egyptians abroad and said that he is in contact with the government to learn of any new developments.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Libyan embassy in Cairo on Monday after the Front called for a sit-in there to protest the death of 45-year-old Egyptian Copt Ezzat Atallah in Libya.

Atallah, who was accused of “proselytising”, was killed in Libya after allegedly being tortured.

Skirmishes broke out at the embassy when protesters burned the Libyan flag and erected an Egyptian one instead in front of the building’s entrance. They also clashed with Libyan nationals who reportedly responded by raising two more Libyan flags.

Atallah was one of about a hundred Egyptian Copts arrested last February in Libya after a group of Salafist Muslims raided a church in Benghazi accusing them of allegedly spreading Christianity in the country.

In December, two Egyptian Copts were killed and two injured when suspected Islamists threw a homemade bomb in to a Coptic Orthodox church in western Libya.

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