View Full Version : Statement Bishop Antony, bishop of Ireland, Scotland, North East England

17-04-2006, 08:58 AM

Statement Bishop Antony, bishop of Ireland, Scotland, North East England and Affiliated Regions

Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate
Diocese of Ireland, Scotland, N.E. England,
And Affiliated Regions.
40 Kingston Drive, Whitley Bay
NE26 1JJ,
England - U.K
Tel. 0191 2972155
Fax 0191 2535558


Bishop Antony, bishop of Ireland, Scotland, North East England and Affiliated Regions, the diocese's clerical council, the committees of all parish churches, and all the Copts of the diocese condemn the attacks on the churches' of Alexandria yesterday, 14 April 2006, which was yet another incident of the Copts' persecution in Egypt that has reduced them to second class citizens.
We request that the perpetrators who attacked the four churches be pursued and brought to justice. We ask the Egyptian government to cease collaborating with the murderers as happens every time there is an attack on Coptic churches and/or the properties of Copts. Fair and democratic governments protect their peoples and their properties from such attacks, chaos, plunders or arson.
We also call upon the Egyptian government to put an end to the discrimination Copts suffer in all walks of life and to put an end to the media's incitement against Christianity. This incitement has resulted in many massacres the latest of which was in the churches of Alexandria at the hands of the Muslim fundamentalists. The incitement by the media in books, papers, magazines, programmes on TV and radio, feeds the flames of persecution which burns the Copts every day with the blessing and the full knowledge of the Egyptian government.
These recent events bring back to memory many previous similar incidents, e.g. Suez, El Zawya El Hamra, El Khanka, Abu Korkas, Kafr Demian, Al Odaysat, Al Ayat, Al Kosheh, Al Moharek, Moharem Bek, amongst others. In all these incidents, the perpetrators went unpunished for any of the crimes, killings, tortures, plundering or arsons of the houses and churches of the Copts. The judicial system gave, as always, a blind eye to these shameless crimes.
We ask with our people: ''Is it possible that the perpetrators of these massacres are always mentally troubled? How could we believe that the reason and the motive behind every attack is always the very same while the persecution Copts suffer is obvious and self-evident? If these attacks had been carried out by a Copt (even if he were mentally troubled) against a mosque, would the reaction of the government and the Islamists have been similar to what it is now?''
Until when will the Copts wait for a solution to their problems? The Egyptian government refuses any external solution while there is no internal solution and there does not seem to be any on the horizon. The Coptic reality is moving from bad to worse and rapidly! Throughout the last twenty five years, under the current regime, we have heard promises that have never materialised!
It is undoubtedly good for the Egyptian government to help solve international problems such as the problems of Palestine, Iraq, and Sudan, but would it not be more important to solve the problems of the Copts who are the children of the country and who have been living in it since before the time of the pyramids?
As laid down by the UN, Every human being on this earth is entitled to practice with full freedom his religion, his way of life, his profession, and to be secure in his family relationship. The human rights of the Coptic Christians in Egypt who number approximately 17 million have been denied them as to the practice of their religion and their security inside their own professions and occupations. This contravenes all the dictates of the UN.
While we live these holy days during the holy week, we pray for the peace of Egypt and the peace of our church, asking God to repose the souls of those who were slain yesterday and throughout the centuries and to give healing and recovery to those who are wounded.
Bishop Antony
Of Ireland, Scotland,
North East England and Affiliated Regions