Sputniknews – 13/4/17
Several Egyptian churches in the southern city of Minya said on Tuesday that they will cut back on Easter festivities in solidarity with the families of 45 Coptic Christians killed in the attacks in Egypt’s northern cities of Tanta and Alexandria earlier this week.
The Minya Coptic Orthodox Diocese said in a statement that, in mourning for victims of the twin terror attacks during Palm Sunday ceremonies, their celebrations will be limited to the liturgical prayers.
“There will be no decorations in churches and the rooms normally reserved for the reception of worshipers wishing to exchange season’s greetings will remain closed,” an official at the Coptic patriarchate told reporters.
Minya province has the highest Coptic Christian population in the country. It is traditional for the Coptic community to hold Easter church prayers on Saturday and then celebrate Sunday with large meals and family visits.
Early on Monday, Egypt’s parliament unanimously approved the three-month nationwide state of emergency declared by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi following the attacks. The move was condemned by human rights advocates worried about the sweeping powers it gives the authorities to arrest, detain and sentence suspects without due judicial review.
“The deep-rooted sectarianism in many places in Egypt provides the climate where this hateful ideology can fester, but states of emergency have been the path to more abuses, not greater protection for Christian lives,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
The Daesh terror group has reportedly claimed responsibility for the terror acts and threatened to step up its attacks in a statement published on social media.
The group had previously claimed responsibility for the December 2016 attack that targeted St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church in Cairo, which claimed the lives of dozens of people.