Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is one of those beautiful Sunday mornings England seems to do so well: sunlight streams across wet grass and the air is filled with the busy chatter of sparrows and the sweet, milky smell of the calves across the way. In hundreds of churches people will be gathering, as we ourselves will gather, to sing the praises of God, ask his intercession and celebrate his sacraments. It is a world away from the horrors of war and exile; but war and exile is precisely what many people are experiencing. There are over 50 million refugees in the world today, and yesterday their number was increased as Christians fled Mosul, Iraq, and those who could, fled northern Gaza.

I find it heartbreaking that we as a nation are standing by as the ancient heartlands of Christianity are ripped apart and destroyed....

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted July 20, 2014 at 6:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The former Grand Mufti of Egypt, Dr Ali Gomaa, and the Anglican Bishop of Egypt, Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis, were invited to give the keynote addresses at the inauguration of the Studies of Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies Programme (SRP) at the Nanyang Technological University, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore from 5-11 June 2014. During their visit to Singapore, they shared their Egyptian experience in "working together as a way of promoting national unity in Egypt."

The President of Singapore, Dr Tony Tan, received Dr Ali and Bishop Mouneer and was keen to hear about the situation in Egypt, especially as their visit coincided with the installation of the new President of Egypt, el-Sisi. He assured both of them that Singapore will stand with Egypt at this very important time. The Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, also received them and wrote in his Facebook page, "I could see that Sheikh Dr Ali Gomaa and Archbishop Dr Mouneer are good friends, working closely together to promote peace and harmony between Muslims and Christians there."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 19, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The architects of the military takeover in Egypt promised a new era of tolerance and pluralism when they deposed President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood last summer.

Nine months later, though, Egypt’s freethinkers and religious minorities are still waiting for the new leadership to deliver on that promise. Having suppressed Mr. Morsi’s Islamist supporters, the new military-backed government has fallen back into patterns of sectarianism that have prevailed here for decades.

Prosecutors continue to jail Coptic Christians, Shiite Muslims and atheists on charges of contempt of religion. A panel of Muslim scholars has cited authority granted under the new military-backed Constitution to block screenings of the Hollywood blockbuster “Noah” because it violates an Islamic prohibition against depictions of the prophets.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted April 26, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At the invitation of The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis of the Episcopal / Anglican Church in Egypt, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark inaugurated an art exhibition “The Way of Salvation” curated by Dr. Farid Fadel at the All Saints Cathedral Hall in Zamalek.

“The visit is historical,” Bishop Mouneer said, “because it comes three days before we celebrate the Feast of St. Mark on which All Saints Cathedral was consecrated.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic Church

1 Comments
Posted April 25, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In February, the 20 or so Christian families still living in the northern Syrian town of Raqqa were given the same choice. The cost of protection is now the equivalent of $650 in Syrian pounds, a large amount for people struggling to make ends meet in a war zone. The other two options remain unchanged. This time the offer came from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), an extremist antigovernment group that seized Raqqa in May 2013 from more-moderate rebel brigades and declared the town the capital of its own Islamic state.

Most of Raqqa’s 3,000 Christians had already fled the fighting, leaving just a few families in a place suddenly run by a group known for its violent tactics in both Iraq and Syria, including beheadings and floggings–tactics so ruthless that even al-Qaeda has disowned the group. The number had fallen even further by the time ISIS commanders promised the Christians that as long as they paid the levy, the one church that had not already been destroyed in the fighting would be left untouched and the Christians would not be physically harmed. They would have the right to practice their religion as long as they didn’t ring bells, evangelize or pray within earshot of a Muslim.

Church leaders urged Raqqa’s Christians to pay the militants. “[ISIS] told me that all I need to do is pay the taxes, and they will protect me,” says George, a 17-year-old Christian music student still living in Raqqa. “I know that under the Caliphate, Christians got a lot of things in return for paying taxes. The Christian community was left in peace.” That hasn’t been the case so far in Syria’s new Caliphate. When ISIS arrived in town, it warned Christians to stay out of sight and hide their crucifixes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOrthodox ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 13, 2014 at 1:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Last summer, as unrest raged in Cairo, Egypt’s small Anglican community started looking for a way out. One family made for Canada, another went to Australia, and several emigrated to the United States.

As exoduses go, Anglican emigration has been small compared to the torrent of fleeing Coptic Orthodox migrants, but with approximately 3000-4000 congregants, the Anglican Church’s problems over the past few years have mirrored those of the wider Christian population.

When modern Egypt’s worst bout of sectarian violence erupted in August, few Anglicans were left untouched by the fallout. Two of the Anglican community’s 15 churches were attacked, while only the timely arrival of the army spared a third, and those inside it, from an irate mob intent on setting it alight.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 21, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A masked armed man blocked the road ahead before five more emerged from hiding and dragged Mamdouh Eskander Farid from his car.

“They tied my hands and gagged me to stop my screams. Then one hit me on the back of my head with the butt of his rifle and I lost consciousness,” said the 58-year-old Christian worker at a health clinic in Minya province, Upper Egypt. When he came to, he did not know where he was, but Mr Farid’s ordeal had just begun. His captors wanted £180,000 — an inordinate ransom for a man who supports a family of nine on just £120 a month.

Like many other Christians in Egypt, Mr Farid will be spending the festive season in fear — terrified of a spate of kidnappings that poses a new threat to their beleaguered minority, which makes up about 10 per cent of Egypt’s majority Muslim population. Dozens have been abducted and some tortured by armed gangs who have demanded ransoms of between £4,000 and £30,000.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted December 24, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the drafting committee entrusted with creating Egypt's new constitution, which is to be put to a national referendum next month, races against time to conclude its final product, concern runs high in most rights quarters about what the expected bill would bear for civil, political and other liberties.

Despite the active engagement of the Coptic church in the committee, representing the vast majority of Egyptian Christians, serious concerns remain in numerous Coptic quarters about the new bill's ability to attend to the grave citizenship issues that have plagued them in past decades – not least of which those added during the Muslim Brotherhood's one-year rule and its now suspended 2013 constitution, on whose drafting committee the liberal forces and representatives of the Coptic church had walked out.

"We are concerned, and for a very simple reason: in its entirety, the text of the proposed constitution – as we have been able to figure out depending on the access we have to the committee's work – is not at all successful in eliminating the key causes for compromised citizenship rights that Copts, and Christians in general, have been facing," said Coptic activist Marceiliano Youssef, a member of the Maspero Youth Union and the Egyptian Centre for Human Rights.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 13, 2013 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“’God of life, lead us to justice and peace’ has become a prayer around the world.” These were words of Dr Wedad Abbas Tawfik about the theme of the World Council of Churches (WCC) 10th Assembly. She shared her experiences and hopes for social and political stability as a Coptic Christian in her country, Egypt.

Tawfik, who was one of the speakers at the World Council of Churches (WCC) 10th Assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea, made special reference to the situation of Christians in the Middle East, Egypt and Syria in particular, inviting prayers for peace for the region.

Tawfik was addressing a plenary session of the WCC assembly on 31 October.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted November 4, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The wedding party stood outside the church, eagerly awaiting the ceremonious arrival of the bride. Instead, drive-by shooters killed four, including two children and the groom's mother, and injured 18.

Beyond its poignancy, the attack in Cairo's industrial neighborhood of Warraq was significant for being one of the first to target Egypt's Christians specifically, versus the now-common attacks on their church buildings.

"Since the revolution, this is the first instance Coptic people were targeted randomly in a church, with weapons," said Mina Magdy, general coordinator for the Maspero Youth Union, a mostly Coptic revolutionary group formed in response to church burnings in 2011 after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 24, 2013 at 6:58 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Brotherhood was toppled in Egypt in a July military coup, and former president Mohammad Morsi will go on trial in November. The coup is also threatening the 6-year-old rule of its Palestinian branch, Hamas, in neighboring Gaza, because the Egyptian military has closed smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, depriving Hamas of millions of dollars in foreign donations and customs revenue. In several Gulf Arab states, the movement has been targeted in a crackdown, and Tunisia's Brotherhood-dominated government faces a backlash.

"They fail to make the transition from a closed organization into an open and broad-based transparent government," Fawaz A. Gerges, director of the Middle East Center of the London School of Economics, said of the Brotherhood. "They behaved, while in government, exactly as they behave internally."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Locked inside a 6th century church in a desert monastery are some of the jewels of early Christianity — ancient murals in vivid pinks, greens and reds depicting saints, angels and the Virgin Mary with a baby Jesus, hidden for centuries under a blanket of black soot.

Italian and Egyptian restorers are meticulously uncovering the paintings, some of the earliest surviving and most complete examples of early Coptic Christian art. But the work, in the final stages more than a decade after it started, is done quietly to avoid drawing attention — and there's no plan to try to attract visitors, at least not now.

"This is our heritage and we must protect it," said Father Antonius, abbot of the Red Monastery where the Anba Bishay Church is located. He takes it as a personal mission to protect it. The church's heavy wooden door has only two keys. He keeps one and a young monk he trusts keeps the other.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted October 17, 2013 at 6:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged the Egyptian Government to do more to prevent mob attacks on the country’s Coptic Christian minority.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said the circumstances for Egypt’s Christian minority, which makes up about about 10 per cent of the nation’s population, were “life-threatening”.

More than 200 Christian-owned properties have been attacked and 43 churches seriously damaged across the country, according to an Amnesty International report out...[this week].

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 10, 2013 at 6:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Indisputably, there is today a Coptic nation. But it is not a nation that seeks to achieve independence and statehood. That nation is neither racial nor, after the loss of the Coptic language, is it based on a distinct language or on purely religious lines. Instead, it is a nation that is founded on the unique history of a church. It is a nation, as S.S. Hassan described it, whose topography is invisible. The nature of the dangers facing that nation have varied throughout its history from assimilation in an imagined liberal Egypt, to the erosion of Coptic uniqueness, the threat of Protestant missionaries and of modernity and its discontents.

Today, this nation faces a more serious threat. It can fight back against persecution, although overwhelming odds lined up against it assure its defeat. It can accept dhimmitude and live as second-class citizens, or it can withdraw inside the walls of its ancient church finding comfort within those walls.

The prospects for Copts in Egypt are, to say the least, bleak. Unlike the Jewish emigrants escaping Egypt in the 1940s and 50s, for Copts driven out of their ancestral homeland there is no Israel to escape to. Nor does their overall percentage in Egypt allow them to play a key role in shaping its future. The only option in front of them is to pack their bags and leave, putting an end to two thousand years of Christianity in Egypt.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

1 Comments
Posted September 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Coptic Orthodox priest would talk to his visitor only after hiding from the watchful eyes of the bearded Muslim outside, who sported a pistol bulging from under his robe.

So Father Yoannis moved behind a wall in the charred skeleton of an ancient monastery to describe how it was torched by Islamists and then looted when they took over this southern Egyptian town following the ouster of the country's president.

"The fire in the monastery burned intermittently for three days. The looting continued for a week. At the end, not a wire or an electric switch is left," Yoannis told The Associated Press. The monastery's 1,600-year-old underground chapel was stripped of ancient icons and the ground was dug up on the belief that a treasure was buried there.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 9, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fresh video has emerged from Egypt showing the storming of a Coptic church, apparently proving claims that supporters of former President Mohammed Morsi have been laying waste to Christian churches.

The shocking footage shows a Muslim mob storming the church in the southern Egyptian city of Sohag, smashing furniture and walls and torching cars as they go.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted September 3, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Multiple attacks by Islamists on St George’s has prompted the Iraqi government to set up three checkpoints to protect the church.

The new security measures make it virtually impossible to attack the building and show “the government here cares about us,” Canon White - known as the “vicar of Baghdad” - says.

However the violence targeted against Christians in Baghdad and elsewhere in the region continues.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 27, 2013 at 4:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

No one knows exactly when the Virgin Mary Church was built, but the fourth and fifth centuries are both possible options. In both cases, it was the time of the Byzantines. Egypt's Coptic Church—to which this church in modern-day Delga belonged—had refused to bow to imperial power and Rome's leadership over the nature of Christ. Constantinople was adamant it would force its will on the Copts. Two lines of popes claimed the Seat of Alexandria. One with imperial blessing sat in the open; the other, with his people's support, often hid, moving from one church to the other. Virgin Mary Church's altar outlasted the Byzantines. Arabs soon invaded in A.D. 641. Dynasties rose and fell, but the ancient building remained strong, a monument to its people's survival.

Virgin Mary Church was built underground, a shelter from the prying eye. At its entrance were two ancient Roman columns and an iron door. Inside were three sanctuaries with four altars. Roman columns were engraved in the walls. As in many Coptic churches, historical artifacts overlapped earlier ones. The most ancient drawing to survive into the 21st century: a depiction, on a stone near the entrance, of two deer and holy bread. Layers and layers of history, a testament not only to the place's ancient roots but also to its persistence. Like other Coptic churches, the ancient baptistery was on the western side, facing the altar in the east. Infants were symbolically transferred through baptism from the left to the right. The old icons were kept inside the church, the ancient manuscripts transferred to the Bishopric in modern times.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted August 24, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Islamist radicals accuse Christians of being behind the 3 July coup against the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood and the toppling and detention of its leader, President Mohamed Mursi. But Christians point out that although the Copts’ leader, Pope Tawadros II, was pictured on television alongside the coup’s protagonist, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, following the take-over, also present was Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Shaikh of Al Azhar, the beating heart of Sunni Islam. Despite that, since the army carried out its mostly popular coup some 40 churches have been looted and torched, and 23 others heavily attacked.

This is a relatively new development as even hard-line Muslims, like all of Islam, recognise Jews and Christians as Ahl al-Kitab (“People of the Book”) or dhimmi, a status which affords rights of residence while requiring them to pay special taxes. While they stress their inferior status and see them constantly as potential converts to Islam, a more moderate attitude often prevails. For example, the Franciscan nuns at Bani Suef were initially paraded like prisoners of war but were quickly given refuge by kindly Muslim women, an indication that Egyptian innate kindliness survives.

Furthermore, just as Muslims and Christians protested together in Cairo’s Tahrir Square after the revolution against President Mubarak began on 25 January, 2011, so many Muslims have helped to protect churches from Islamist fanatics.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted August 23, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Osama Makram Amin woke to the sound of gunfire, looked out his window and saw what he says were young men throwing gasoline bombs at the nearby Coptic Christian church.

Earlier that morning, security forces in Cairo had attacked two predominantly Islamist sit-ins, leaving hundreds dead. Now, hours later on Aug. 14, attackers in this Upper Egyptian city were embarking on a day of burning and looting that would target 14 Christian churches, homes and businesses. It was the work of Islamists enraged by the Cairo crackdown, said police and many Christian residents.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted August 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Before the violence that shook this small village last week, there were warning signs.

On June 30, when millions of Egyptians took to the streets to protest against now ousted President Mohamed Morsi, residents of Al Nazla marked Christian homes and shops with red graffiti, vowing to protect Morsi's electoral legitimacy with “blood.”

Relations between Christians and Muslims in the village, which had worsened since Morsi's election in 2012, grew even more tense as Islamists spread rumors that it was Christians who were behind the protests against Morsi and his ouster by the military on July 3.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted August 19, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
38 Churches completely destroyed, burned and looted
23 Churches attacked and partially damaged
In Addition to the following:
- 58 houses owned by Copts in different burned and looted
- 85 shops owned by Copts
- 16 pharmacies
- 3 hotels (Horus, Susana & Akhnaton)
- 75 cars, buses owned by churches
-6 people killed based on their religious Christian Identity
-7 Coptic people kidnapped in upper Egypt governorates
The link will provide you with many more sobering numbers--please pray for Egypt--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted August 18, 2013 at 11:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“The Egyptian defense minister ordered the engineering department of the armed forces to swiftly repair all the affected churches, in recognition of the historical and national role played by our Coptic brothers,” read a statement that aired on Egyptian television.

Bishop Mousa thanked Sisi for his efforts to repair the damaged churches.

“We thank Col. Gen. Sisi for commissioning the brave Egyptian armed forces to rebuild the places of worship damaged during the recent events,” Bishop Mousa said on Twitter.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted August 18, 2013 at 6:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all and follow all the interactive's features. Also, read the accompanying article there which includes the following:
As if sensing trouble, just two days before Wednesday's violence, Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II called on all Egyptians to prevent bloodshed.

"With all compassion I urge everyone to conserve Egyptian blood and ask of every Egyptian to commit to self-restraint and avoid recklessness and assault on any person or property," Tawadros wrote on his official Twitter account Monday.

Youssef Sidhom, editor-in-chief of the Christian weekly Watani, said the recent attacks are painful and vicious but it be worse if they are allowed to divide the two faiths.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 17, 2013 at 8:27 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dear Friends,

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

As I write these words, our St. Saviour’s Anglican Church in Suez is under heavy attack from those who support former President Mursi. They are throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the church and have destroyed the car of Rev. Ehab Ayoub, the priest-in-charge of St. Saviour’s Church. I am also aware that there are attacks on other Orthodox churches in Menyia and Suhag in Upper Egypt (photo above), as well as a Catholic church in Suez. Some police stations are also under attack in different parts of Egypt. Please pray and ask others to pray for this inflammable situation in Egypt.

arly this morning, the police supported by the army, encouraged protestors in two different locations in Cairo, to leave safely and go home. It is worth mentioning that these protestors have been protesting for 6 weeks, blocking the roads. The people in these neighborhoods have been suffering a great deal—not only these people, but those commuting through, especially those who are going to the airport. The police created very safe passages for everyone to leave. Many protestors left and went home, however, others resisted to leave and started to attack the police. The police and army were very professional in responding to the attacks, and they used tear gas only when it was necessary. The police then discovered caches of weapons and ammunition in these sites. One area near Giza is now calm, but there is still some resistance at other sites. There are even some snipers trying to attack the police and the army. There are even some rumors that Muslim Brotherhood leaders asked the protestors in different cities to attack police stations, take weapons, and attack shops and churches.

A few hours later, violent demonstrations from Mursi supporters broke out in different cities and towns throughout Egypt. The police and army are trying to maintain safety for all people and to disperse the protestors peacefully. However, the supporters of former President Mursi have threatened that if they are dispersed from the current sites, they will move to other sites and continue to protest. They also threatened to use violence. There have been a number of fatalities and casualties from among the police as well as the protestors, but it seems that the numbers are not as high as expected for such violence. However, the supporters of former President Mursi claim that there are very high numbers of casualties. The real numbers will be known later on.

Please pray that the situation will calm down, for wisdom and tact for the police and the army, for the safety of all churches and congregations, and that all in Egypt would be safe.

May the Lord bless you!

--(The Most Rev.) Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
 is Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt
 with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
 and President Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican

Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

6 Comments
Posted August 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was nighttime and 10,000 Islamists were marching down the most heavily Christian street in this ancient Egyptian city, chanting "Islamic, Islamic, despite the Christians." A half-dozen kids were spray-painting "Boycott the Christians" on walls, supervised by an adult.

While Islamists are on the defensive in Cairo following the military coup that ousted President Mohammed Morsi, in Assiut and elsewhere in Egypt's deep south they are waging a stepped-up hate campaign, claiming the country's Christian minority somehow engineered Morsi's downfall.

"Tawadros is a dog," says a spray-painted insult, referring to Pope Tawadros II, patriarch of the Copts, as Egypt's Christians are called. Christian homes, stores and places of worship have been marked with large painted crosses.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

1 Comments
Posted August 9, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Following fresh turmoil in Egypt, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have sent a message of 'committed solidarity' to Pope Tawadros II and Bishop Mouneer in Cairo.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have joined the call for prayers for unity, reconciliation and an end to violence in Egypt.

Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop Dr John Sentamu wrote to the Coptic and Anglican leaders in Cairo today, pledging their 'committed solidarity' amid the recent turmoil in the country.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle EastArchbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted July 12, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An Egyptian court has convicted a Coptic Christian teacher of blasphemy but didn't hand down a prison sentence and only imposed a fine on her.

The court on Tuesday ruled that elementary schoolteacher Dimyana Abdel-Nour had insulted Islam. It ordered that she pay a fine of 100,000 Egyptian pounds ($14,000). Abdel-Nour was not in the courtroom for the verdict.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted June 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since the ouster of Mr. Mubarak in February 2011, a growing number of Copts, including some of the most successful businessmen, have left Egypt or are preparing to do so, fearing persecution by an Islamist-controlled government as much as the stagnant economy that is smothering their industries.

Among the most prominent are the heads of the Sawiris family, who for several months have been running their enormous business empire from abroad.

“Every week I learn of 10 people who are leaving or who have already left,” Mr. [Wasfi Amin] Wassef said. “They know that what happened to the Sawiris’ can happen to them tomorrow.”

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted May 16, 2013 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark met with Pope Francis today in a historical meeting held in the Apostolic Palace today.

This is the first time in 40 years that a Coptic Pope has met with the Pope of Rome. On May 1973. Pope Shenouda III met with Pope Paul VI and signed an an important Christological Declaration in common and initiated bilateral ecumenical dialogue between the two Churches.

In his address to Pope Francis, Pope Tawadros II regarded the meeting as “an unforgettable occasion”, since it marks the anniversary of their respective predecessor’s meeting.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

0 Comments
Posted May 11, 2013 at 8:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An alleged romance between an Egyptian Muslim college student and a Coptic Christian man heightened sectarian tension on Friday in a small rural Egyptian town where police fired tear gas to disperse stone-throwing Muslims who surrounded a Coptic church in anger over the inter-faith relationship, a security official and priest said.

The Muslim protesters accuse Saint Girgis Church of helping 21-year-old Rana el-Shazli, who is believed to have converted to Christianity, flee to Turkey with a Coptic Christian man.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted April 28, 2013 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Mass was celebrated as if from centuries past: A bearded priest veiled in incense chanted for grace in a church along the Nile, near the spot where Christians believe Jesus and his mother sought refuge in an earlier age of bloodshed and uncertainty.

Marianne Samir knelt and prayed for the Coptic Christians killed in a spasm of sectarian violence that has further shaken a nation engulfed in economic and political anxieties.

"I feel unsafe," said Samir, a high school philosophy teacher with a cross tattooed on her wrist. "The Islamists want war. They want strife. But this is our land too. It is a country blessed by God, and there's no way we'll leave it to them."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted April 13, 2013 at 7:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church accused President Mohamed Morsi’s government on Tuesday of “delinquency” and “misjudgments” for failing to prevent sectarian street-fighting that escalated into an attack on the church’s main cathedral after a funeral mass over the weekend, leaving at least six Christians dead.

“This is the first time the main Coptic Orthodox Cathedral has been attacked in Egypt’s history,” the church leader, Pope Tawadros II, said in a television interview, faulting Mr. Morsi’s government for failing to act fast enough to control the violence.

Direct criticism of the government by an Egyptian church leader was all but unheard-of under former President Hosni Mubarak, whose ouster two years ago ended the fear of reprisals from the authorities that had helped silence church officials and others. But the pope’s comments also highlighted the growing anxieties among Christian leaders about the subsequent rise to power of Mr. Morsi, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and his Islamist allies.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

1 Comments
Posted April 12, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It's been more than a year since a military-induced massacre in Cairo, Egypt, killed 28 people—mostly Coptic Christians. But the only people convicted thus far have been the Christians themselves.

Last week, a Cairo court sentenced Michael Farag and Michael Shaker to three years in jail, charging them with inciting violence, destroying military vehicles, and deliberately attacking soldiers. Farag and Shaker were among the more than 30 Coptic civilians arrested following the massacre, 12 of whom were given life sentences last May.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted February 10, 2013 at 11:56 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jackline Nessim and Wael Sedrak, like many of Egypt’s Christians, long for a present that is unlikely to arrive before Coptic Christmas on Jan. 7. In fact, it may be a very long time in coming.

“We want an end to the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Mr. Sedrak, 34, an interior decorator, referring to the Islamist group that controls Egypt’s presidency, dominates its legislature and wrote the newly approved constitution. “Every day they get more and more fanatic and make our lives miserable.”

At St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church in the affluent suburb of Maadi, many Christian parishioners – long a minority in this Muslim country – worry that the rise to power of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood will marginalize them as never before. Thousands of Egyptian Christians are said to have left the country – an exodus of one of the world’s oldest Christian communities – and families here at this charming marble church fret over whether they should go, too.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry says an explosion at an Egyptian Coptic church in Libya’s third largest city, Misrata, has killed two people and wounded two others.

The statement by the Foreign Ministry says Sunday’s explosion killed two Egyptian citizens working at the church in preparation for traditional New Year’s Eve mass.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaLibyaMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted December 30, 2012 at 6:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a spooky, dare I say, godly coincidence, two of the world's important religions obtained new leaders in the past fortnight. What makes the coincidence seem so like divine providence is that both leaders started their vocational life not fired by the sacred but as industrialists.

The Coptic Church is now led by Pope Tawadros (Theodore) II, who ran a pharmaceutical factory until he saw the light. Former oil industry executive Justin Welby, meanwhile, was selected to be enthroned in March as the Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the Anglican Communion.

Both had late onset religious conversions....


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/blogs/godless-gross/a-tale-of-two-leaders-20121203-2apyg.html#ixzz2EbKcRdl9

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted December 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The new pope of Egypt's Coptic Christian church has been formally enthroned in Cairo.

Pope Tawadros II was confirmed as the new leader of Egypt's Christian minority at a ceremony at St Mark's cathedral in the Egyptian capital.

The 60-year-old succeeds Pope Shenouda III, who died in March after four decades on the patriarchal throne.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted November 18, 2012 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, is in Cairo on Sunday 18 November 2012 attending the enthronement of the of the new Coptic Pope. He will be representing the Archbishop of Canterbury as well as the Church of Ireland. While there he will have an audience with the new Coptic Pope and deliver the following greeting from the Church of Ireland:

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Ireland* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted November 18, 2012 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Q: How might the church's political role change with the new pope?

In interviews after his selection, the new pope spoke of the church focusing on spiritual work. But Samia Sidhom, an editor at the Coptic newspaper Watani, says that until Christians are equal citizens in Egypt, it will be hard for the pope to remain apolitical. And indeed, in the days after he was chosen as the 118th leader of the church, he spoke out strongly on Egypt's new constitution. Many secular and liberal Egyptians have complained that Islamists have controlled the drafting of the constitution and are using it to increase the influence of Islam on the state.

"A constitution that hints at imposing a religious state in Egypt is absolutely rejected," the new pope said.

Q: How might the fate of Egypt's Christians affect the region?

In the year after the revolution, attacks on Christians and churches rose sharply, though sectarian incidents had been rising during the last years of Mubarak's reign. Churches were burned, clashes broke out, and last October, the Army attacked a mostly Christian protest, leaving more than two dozen people dead.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted November 16, 2012 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A young boy was chosen, brought forward to the alter, then blindfolded. He then picked one of three pieces of paper from a jar. The paper was shown to the congregation. On it was the name of Bishop Tawadros, who will be the new Coptic pope. The congregation broke into spontaneous applause.

It might seem a strange way to choose a new leader for Egypt's eight to ten million Coptic Christians - and many more worldwide.

Yet Copts believe this is the way the hand of God was revealed. That is the view of Youssef Sidhom, editor of the Coptic Watani newspaper:

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchChildrenReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church* TheologyEcclesiologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

1 Comments
Posted November 5, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I really enjoyed this--see what you think. Too funny to hear the trouble the BBC had in covering the story(! Not going to spoil it for you you have to watch to see what I mean--KSH).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchChildren* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

7 Comments
Posted November 4, 2012 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Tawadros has been chosen as the new pope of Egypt's Coptic Christians, becoming leader of the largest Christian minority in the Middle East.

His name was selected from a glass bowl by a blindfolded boy at a ceremony in Cairo's St Mark's Cathedral. Three candidates had been shortlisted.

The 60-year-old succeeds Pope Shenouda III, who died in March aged 88.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

1 Comments
Posted November 4, 2012 at 6:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After an uprising toppled President Hosni Mubarak early last year, women and minorities hoped for a nation that would guarantee long-denied equal rights. But their pleas have gone unanswered as Egypt has shifted from military control to the conservative designs of a new Islamist president. Mostafa's death symbolizes for many women the prospect that civil rights would be further jeopardized by a new constitution.

Scores of Egyptians, with the support of 33 women's rights organizations, protested outside President Mohamed Morsi's palace last week against the proposed constitution, particularly Article 36, which says the state is "committed to providing all measures to ensure the equality of women with men, as long as those rights are not contradicting the laws of Islam," or sharia.

Overwhelmed by Islamist domination in the assembly drafting the constitution, liberals and moderates have repeatedly threatened to resign because they say the political body leans toward radical political Islam. A previous assembly was dissolved this year for failing to represent Egypt's diverse society, and a court decision expected Tuesday could again disband the body amid charges it has ignored women, Christians, youths and other groups.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

2 Comments
Posted October 8, 2012 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While it is not a new thing to suffer as a Copt, the raised expectations of better treatment after the revolution turned to be a big frustration. It is not simply about complaining; the goal of the article is to highlight the Copts’ plight and how to overcome those sufferings.

This article will highlight some recent incidents that support my argument of the Copts’ dilemma. It will also examine the weak reaction by the current regime, the lack of effort to seriously tackle those issues, and it will provide some suggestions for ways forward.

Bishoy Kameel, a Coptic teacher in Sohag, was sentenced to six years in prison for insulting Islam and defaming President Morsi on his Facebook page. This sentence was confirmed by an appeal court in Sohag, and the whole process happened in a matter of days.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted October 4, 2012 at 6:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The 14-minute trailer on YouTube enraged Muslims worldwide with its depiction of Muhammad as a womanizer, religious fraud and child molester. Most Egyptian Christians in the U.S. have rejected the movie and say the man and the nonprofit tied to the film are fringe players who are not well-known in the Coptic Orthodox Church, the church for the vast majority of Coptic Christians in America.

A tiny minority of U.S. Copts, however, have used their adopted nation’s free speech protections to speak out against Islam in a way that would not be tolerated in their native Egypt. The few who engage in this anti-Muslim, evangelical activism _ including those behind the movie trailer _ are fueled by that history, said Eliot Dickinson, an associate professor of political science at Western Oregon University who has written a book on U.S. Copts.

“Whoever made this film is such an outlier in their community that it’s completely unrepresentative,” Dickinson said. “But what it does is, it taps into this frustration of always being persecuted back in Egypt and let’s not downplay that. To be a Copt in Egypt now is a very, very difficult life because, especially after the Arab Spring, it’s open season.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaAmerica/U.S.A.Middle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted September 25, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church will choose a new pope on Dec. 2, after Pope Shenouda who led the church for four decades died in March and left many Christians worrying about their rights under an Islamist-led government.

Read it all.

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted September 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hours after leaflets from Egypt's jihadi organizations were distributed promising to "reward" any Muslim who kills any Christian Copt in Egypt, specifically naming several regions including Asyut, a report recently appeared concerning the random killing of a Christian store-owner.

According to reporter Menna Magdi, writing in a report published August 14 and titled "The serial killing of Copts has begun in Asyut," unidentified men stormed a shoe-store, murdering the Christian owner, Refaat Eskander early in the morning.

Read it all and read this as well.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

15 Comments
Posted August 22, 2012 at 6:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At least 16 people have been wounded after Muslims attacked a church and Christian homes in a village near the Egyptian capital, Cairo, officials say.

The unrest in Dahshur, about 40km (25 miles) south of Cairo, started after a Muslim man died of wounds sustained in an earlier clash on Friday.

Violence frequently flares between Egypt's Muslim majority and its Coptic Christian minority.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted August 3, 2012 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...In Egypt, the situation is difficult but there is no persecution, we would say discrimination. And then we have the wartorn areas like Iraq and for over 60 years in Palestine. These two situations make it very difficult for Christians. In Palestine, the Christians have lost hope and they leave the country if they can. We find the same situation, more or less in Iraq. The Christians are migrating from their area to the north, the Kurdish north of Iraq.

Q: Let us leave the question of war to the side for a moment. How would we grade, if you will, when we are talking about discrimination and when it is an outright persecution?

Father [Samir Khalil] Samir: War is the worst situation and the discrimination in Egypt is the second level. For example, the whole day and during the whole year, you are bombarded with Islamic propaganda starting at five in the morning. They start their preaching using megaphones and this is five times a day...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

5 Comments
Posted May 5, 2012 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hopes that Arab Christians can enjoy full recognition in their countries' post-revolution politics appear to have suffered a setback. The political parties that have swept to power in Egypt and Tunisia are attempting to define their nations in narrow ethno-religious terms – as Islamic with sharia as the principal source of law. In Tunisia, for example, the constitution explicitly prohibits Christians from fielding candidates in the presidential election.

Attacks against Coptic churches and Christians in Egypt have increased during and since the revolution, and Arab Christians have allegedly been attacked in Syria. This has led to much soul-searching in the Arab Christian community, whose numbers and political influence have dwindled significantly over the past two decades owing to significant bouts of emigration.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgyptSyria* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOrthodox ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted April 25, 2012 at 7:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Father Alfons Marzou shuffles across a complex that is home to sisters for the Catholic Missionaries of Charity, whose nuns provide medical care and food to impoverished children living amid heaps of garbage.

"Look around," Marzou says, motioning to the filthy streets outside the walls where families live among refuse for resale in what is known as Garbage City.

Little has improved for these people in the year since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, Marzou says, "The situation is bad in so many ways."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted April 12, 2012 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the pope of the largest and oldest Christian community in the Middle East, Shenouda III belonged to a Coptic tradition that can be traced back to when St Mark introduced Christianity to Egypt in the 1st century AD. The first decade of his tenure, which began in 1971, was characterised by fierce protest and dissent against the government, mainly over its failure to protect Copts from attacks by Muslim extremists. As a result, Shenouda was expelled from his post by President Anwar Sadat for four years. Following Sadat’s assassination and Shenouda’s return to Cairo, he became a model of co-operation with the government for the rest of his life.

Shenouda III’s ambition was to find a place for the Coptic population within Egypt in a country where 90 per cent of the population are Muslims. He attempted to smooth over some of the problems that resulted in attacks against Christians in the early 1970s by appealing to the name of “one God whom we all worship”, although renewed deadly attacks by Muslim extremists on the Christian Coptic community in more recent years showed that this strategy was having limited success. He also gave explicit support to the Palestinians in their conflict and developed good relations with a number of Muslim religious leaders to the extent that he was dubbed “the Arabs’ pope”.


Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted March 25, 2012 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is no quorum for the election, and once the votes have been counted the names of the three top candidates will be announced. The Sunday following the elections, a procedure will be held at St Mark's Church in Cairo to choose the next pope from among the three top candidates. Their names will be placed on the altar, and after mass a blindfolded child will pick one of the names. The name of the person picked will become the next pope of the Coptic Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildren* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

9 Comments
Posted March 24, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Shenouda, the controversial yet beloved head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt, died Saturday after 40 years of leading and reforming the ancient Christian communion. His death complicates the uncertain position of Orthodox believers—who represent 90 percent of Egyptian Christians—now that Islamists have surged to leadership following Egypt's revolution last January.

Coptic Protestants respected and appreciated the pope.

"Shenouda was a pope of the Bible," said Ramez Atallah, head of the Bible Society of Egypt. "We are the fifth-largest Bible society in the world because [he] created a hunger for the Scriptures among Copts."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic Church

2 Comments
Posted March 20, 2012 at 6:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Together with all Egyptian, the Episcopal / Anglican Church of Egypt mourns the loss of Pope Shenouda III, the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Pope Shenouda passed away ...this past Saturday, 17 March, at the age of 89 and 41 years after his enthronement as the 117th Patriarch of Alexandria. Pope Shenouda was a great example of an Archbishop who is committed to teaching his people regularly. Every Wednesday for the last 41 years, he met with his people (between 5000 and 6000 each week) to answer their questions and teach from the Bible. He wrote many books, which were translated into several languages.

Pope Shenouda had a great missionary vision. He consecrated two missionary bishops in Africa, and he planted churches and monasteries in all of the continents of the world. He gave special care to all of the Copts in the Diaspora. Pope Shenouda had a warm heart for ministry to the poor. He had a special meeting with them every Thursday, where he supported them through funds, counselling and prayer.

During the time of Pope Shenouda, the Coptic Orthodox church has grown tremendously. He gave special attention to theological education, opening several new seminaries. During his time he consecrated over a hundred bishops. He also cared for the youth of his church and consecrated two bishops mainly for ministry to youth.

He was well known for defending the rights of Christians, and because of this he was put under house arrest by President Anwar Sadat. He was released after the death of Sadat. In spite of this he continued to love Egypt and often said, ‘Egypt is not the country in which we live but the country lives in our hearts.’

As Egypt presently goes through many political changes, it is not easy for Egyptian Christians to lose Pope Shenouda, the father of the church in Egypt, at this time of uncertainty about the future of the country. I was not surprised to see hundreds of thousands of people in the streets of Cairo yesterday, immediately after the announcement of the passing away of the beloved Pope, who was such an important symbol for the nation.

Our relationship to the Coptic Orthodox Church is the strongest among the different denominations in Egypt. Several times Pope Shenouda mentioned to me that he appreciated the fact that he started his career as a teacher of English in our Anglican School in Cairo.

Pope Shenouda was a continuous encouragement and inspiration to me personally and to our church. He always sent representatives to our events and celebrations. At our nomination, he received an honorary doctoral degree at a great celebration from Nashotah Seminary in Wisconsin, USA. Pope Shenouda will be greatly missed, but he will always be remembered as a great leader, teacher, partner and Pope.

In our churches we are praying for the Coptic Orthodox Church and we have thanked God for Pope Shenouda, his life and his ministry in the assurance that he now celebrates eternal life with his Lord Jesus Christ. During his life he often told audiences ‘rabbina mawguud’, God is present in our midst. He now experiences this to the fullest possible extent!

The funeral for Pope Shenouda will on Tuesday 20th of March, and he will be buried in his monastery of St. Bishoy.

--(The Most Rev.) Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt
with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
President Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican
Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted March 20, 2012 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Burned-out rubble is all that’s left of Christian shopkeeper Abskharon Suleiman’s appliance store in the northern Egyptian village of Sharbat. His home was destroyed as well as shops owned by his adult children – all targeted because they are Christians.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted March 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Together with all Egyptians, the Episcopal / Anglican Church of Egypt mourns the loss of Pope Shenouda III, the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Pope Shenouda passed away yesterday (Saturday 17 March) at the age of 89 and 41 years after his enthronement as the 117th Patriarch of Alexandria. Pope Shenouda was a great example of a Bishop who is committed to teaching his people regularly. Every Wednesday for the last 41 years, he met with his people (between 5000 and 6000 each week) to answer their questions and teach from the Bible. He wrote many books, which were translated into several languages.
Pope Shenouda had a great missionary vision. He consecrated two missionary bishops in Africa, and he planted churches and monasteries in all of the continents of the world. He gave special care to all of the Copts in the diaspora. Pope Shenouda had a warm heart for ministry to the poor. He had a special meeting with them every Thursday, where he supported them through funds, counselling and prayer.
During the time of Pope Shenouda, the Coptic Orthodox church has grown tremendously. He gave special attention to theological education, opening several new seminaries. He also cared for the youth of his church and consecrated two bishops mainly for ministry to youth.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted March 18, 2012 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Egypt's Coptic Christian Pope Shenouda III has died at the age of 88, state television has announced.

The leader of the Middle East's largest Christian minority was reported to suffer from cancer that had spread to several organs.

Coptic Christians make up 10% of Egypt's population of 80 million.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

1 Comments
Posted March 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From her home in a labyrinth of stonewalled alleyways, Samia Ramsis holds a key chain bearing the face of the Virgin Mary as she sits in her yellow pajamas on the morning of Orthodox Christmas.

Sunlight pours in through a window. Outside, visitors come to look upon the spot where Egypt's Christians — most known as Copts — believe the Holy Family found refuge after fleeing Bethlehem and assassins sent by King Herod to kill the baby Jesus.

Once crowded with Christians, Cairo's Coptic quarter where Samia lives with her husband, Mounir, and two children is home to fewer than 50 Christian families.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

3 Comments
Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Coptic Orthodox Church will send out invitations to presidential hopefuls and all political parties, including Salafi ones, to attend the Christmas holy mass on 7 January, a papal source told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

The source said that Pope Shenouda III insisted on inviting both Muslim and Coptic Egyptians to the celebration.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

2 Comments
Posted December 30, 2011 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Kirolos Andraws had every reason to be excited about the January uprising in his native Egypt, figuring democracy would bring hope for young people like him.

Then one day in February, says Mr. Andraws, a gang of thugs beat him and told him, "you deserve to die." His offense, he says: refusing to convert to Islam.

In late March, Mr. Andraws, a 23-year- old engineer, used a tourist visa to board an Egyptair flight for New York City. He let a room in a friend's apartment, hired an immigration lawyer and applied for asylum. He has survived mainly on wages and tips from jobs as a cook, cashier and delivery man.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

3 Comments
Posted December 24, 2011 at 2:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Copts and other Christian com­munities in Egypt fear that the unexpectedly large turnout in the first of the three rounds of voting in parliamentary elections will be translated into a resounding success for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. Other parties representing more conserva­tive Islamists — Salafis and Jihadis — are also likely to fare better than had been thought.

“The signs are very worrying,” a schoolteacher in Alexandria, Gabriel Ghali, said. “We are all worrying about what the huge queues will mean in terms of the votes cast, and we suspect it will mean a victory for the Islamic groups — and that’s bad news for us.”

Tens of thousands of Christians have emigrated since the overthrow of the Hosni Mubarak regime, and the outbreak of attacks on mem-bers of the community and their property.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

5 Comments
Posted December 2, 2011 at 6:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almost two weeks after the killing of around 25 Copts during an anti- discrimination demonstration in front of the headquarters of state TV on 9 October confusion continues to surround the carnage. There is no clear plan to punish the killers, who remain unidentified, and no guarantees that root cause of the problem is being addressed.

Immediately following the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces' (SCAF) public denial during a press conference on 12 October of any culpability on the part of soldiers or military police in the killing of demonstrators protesting against the illegal demolition of churches, the Coptic Church questioned the council's version of events. Speaking hours after the press conference, Pope Shenouda denied that military police had been forced to defend themselves after demonstrators shot at them. "The demonstrators were not armed," he stated.

The position of the Church has received support from across civil society, with videos emerging that purport to reveal the details of bloody Sunday....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

3 Comments
Posted October 27, 2011 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Along with countless Christians and Muslims alike throughout the world, I want to express my deep concern about the current situation in Egypt as it affects all our Christian brothers and sisters and to promise our continuing prayers and support especially for His Holiness Pope Shenuda and the community he serves. In modern times the significant Coptic Christian population in Egypt has been free from repression ; Muslims and Christians have happily shared a loyalty to the one Egyptian state....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

5 Comments
Posted October 19, 2011 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mecca, we have a problem.

It is not America, nor Europe, and no, it is certainly not Israel.

The problem is Christian persecution. Some 14 centuries after the prophet Mohammed wrote, "Christians are my citizens, and by God, I hold out against anything that displeases them," Christian persecution has become the norm in too many Muslim-majority nations.

A few days ago, 25 Christians were killed in Egypt after state television falsely accused them of creating violence — while they peacefully protested violence against their churches. Rather than fight for the rights of Christians, the Muslim mob attacked them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted October 17, 2011 at 3:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Via email--KSH).
Dear Friends,

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

I do request your urgent prayers as the situation here in Cairo is very inflamed. Many Christians demonstrated after the incident of the burning of a church building in Mari Nab near Aswan (Egypt). The demonstrations started peacefully as the people were requesting that investigations for the incidents of burning and demolishing churches would be completed and the new law for building churches, that was promised four months ago, would be passed.

This evening it turned to be very violent between demonstrators and the military. More than 20 people were killed and more than 100 were injured.

Tomorrow there will be a large meeting for the House of Bishops of the Coptic Orthodox Church and political leaders will have a separate meeting to discuss a way out of this very difficult situation. I would appreciate your prayers for our beloved country.

We will hold prayer meetings tomorrow and I hope that I can meet with Muslim religious leaders in order to discuss a way forward for the situation.

Thank you for your prayers.

--The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis

Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt

with North Africa and the Horn of Africa

President Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican

Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

3 Comments
Posted October 9, 2011 at 6:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At least 17 people have been killed and scores injured after a protest in Cairo against an attack on a Coptic church.

Egyptian TV showed protesters clashing with security forces, with army vehicles burning outside the state television building.

Christian Copts blame Muslim radicals for the partial demolition of a Coptic church in Aswan province last week.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted October 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Scores of Coptic Christians on Monday staged their third demonstration before St. Mark's cathedral in Abbasseya, demanding permission for divorce and civil marriages.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted July 26, 2011 at 7:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The forty-year-old Virgin Mary Church on Cairo’s al-Wahda Street—the name means unity, or oneness—looks striking these days. Its cream and white façade is unscathed by the dust and smog that otherwise blanket neighboring buildings and the rest of the city, and inside, its walls and floors glisten with newly laid cappuccino-colored marble. The church, its guardians say, has never looked better. “Ever, in its entire history.”

On May 8, this church, in the impoverished Cairo neighborhood of Imbaba, a ten-minute drive from Tahrir Square, was a scene of devastation. It had been ravaged by flames and its insides gutted, smashed, looted, and charred after clashes broke out between Muslims and Christians over the case of a Coptic woman named Abeer Fakhri, an alleged convert to Islam whom ultraconservative Salafis had claimed was being held against her will at the nearby Church of St. Mina, which was also attacked. Fifteen people were killed in the violence and almost two hundred injured.

The attack was one of a series against Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority in the weeks since President Hosni Mubarak stepped down on February 11. Since then, widespread and escalating crime has gripped the country....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

4 Comments
Posted July 22, 2011 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The security situation in Egypt has "deteriorated considerably" since former president Hosni Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11, leaving a security vacuum and Christians feeling "threatened more than ever," according to aid workers.

"Security is still not where it needs to be to give people a greater sense of personal safety. Undoubtedly, there has been an increase in the tensions between Muslims and Christians since Mubarak stepped down ... All Egyptians, not just [Coptic Christians], feel more insecure these days," said Jason Belanger of Catholic Relief. Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 80 million people. Copts are a branch of the Orthodox church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

2 Comments
Posted June 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the end, there does not seem to be any single explanation for the church attack and the other recent incidents of violence. What is clear is that a confluence of forces—an army seeking the opportunity to consolidate power, remnants of a regime stirring havoc, a cabinet with little authority of its own, radical Islamists aspiring to an Islamic State, and deep-rooted currents of social intolerance that Egypt has long failed to confront—have created a situation in which the Copts, among other groups, have become particularly vulnerable. As the economy plummets, financial woes may lead to more instability—prices have already risen, and on the streets people are complaining they have no work. Reports indicate that many are already resorting to theft to feed their families.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

2 Comments
Posted May 20, 2011 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Scores of mostly Coptic Christian protesters were injured when their weekend demonstration blocking a street near the heart of downtown Cairo was attacked by motorists and residents as riot police stood by, prompting new questions about the ability and willingness of Egypt's military-led government to maintain security.

The attacks came hours after an explosion at the tomb of a Muslim saint in the northern Sinai town of Sheik Zweid and a week after sectarian clashes left 15 dead and 200 injured.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted May 16, 2011 at 8:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christian and Muslim clashes in Egypt have left 12 people dead, 238 injured and two Coptic churches in Cairo burned, the state media reported.

Faith and political leaders condemned the weekend violence, which was triggered by rumors that a woman who had converted to Islam was being detained at the sixth-century Coptic Church of St. Mena in the working-class neighborhood of Imbaba in northwest Cairo.

It’s the worst sectarian violence since protests in February overthrew Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s long serving president, and the clashes are presenting fresh challenges to the military-led government.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted May 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A disturbing feature of the crisis in Egypt has been the paucity of any discussion of the implications of the possible rise of fanatical Islamists for Christians, particularly the sizeable Coptic Christian population, estimated at between 10-15 percent of the Egyptian population. The few vague references to their fate were generally voiced as an afterthought to reflections on the repression of women.

This puzzling gap is characteristic of Western analysts who respond only to political and economic explanations. But these have little to do with the deeper social historical complexities of the Middle East and everything to do with religion and the culture. Western analysts seldom understand the importance of religion. Unless conflict has an overt political face it is usually a mystery to them. Yet Christians were out on the street with their fellow Egyptians when Mubarak was ousted, desperate to ward off an Islamic take-over.

In fact the persecution of Copts has intensified over the past 20 years even though few in the West have paid attention to it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

2 Comments
Posted April 3, 2011 at 3:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

{BOB] ABERNETHY: There was a poll that came out this week taken by phone in Cairo and Alexandria asking questions about these things, and a very low percentage, 15 percent, said they approved of the Muslim Brotherhood. Has there been a change since years ago in that as a new generation has come up?

[GENEIVE] ABDO: Well, I think that the statistic that people that have used is 20 percent generally—that if there were free elections today, 20 percent of Egyptians would vote for Brotherhood candidates, but I think that could be sort of an underestimation.

ABERNETHY: But so what would that mean in a government if the Muslim Brotherhood or any strongly Islamist group had influence?

ABDO: Well, there are a lot of parties in Egypt. There are a lot of political parties, as we all know. Some of them are secular, some are nationalist. The Brotherhood is only one of them. However, the Brotherhood is very well organized, and they’ve been around for a long time. They’re a social, also, organization. They run hospitals. They do a lot of sort of social work in Egypt. So they are very, very influential.

Read or watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted February 14, 2011 at 6:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Many Christian leaders believe that the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic political group banned in Egypt, will grow in political power with Mubarak's ouster. The brotherhood maintains strong support among some Egyptians. Religious-freedom analysts believe the leaders of the brotherhood, famous for the slogan "Islam is the solution," could very well usher in repression of all minority religious groups. Christians are Egypt's largest minority, representing 6 to 10 percent of Egypt's 85 million people. About 90 percent of all Christians in Egypt are Orthodox.

But while most Egyptian Muslims are Sunni, like the brotherhood, they are not as fundamentalist as it is. One Coptic Orthodox businessman based in Cairo told CT that he was surprised that Christians' property was not targeted during the growing protests. "I thought that the first thing to be attacked [by protestors] would be the churches," he said.

"It wasn't like that. In the neighborhood of my parents, there are many mosques and churches. No single mosque has announced anything against us Christians. Very soon, a big change will happen. Egypt has been like someone sleeping. Now, wake up! Do something better."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted February 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The morning bells of All Saints Church beckon worshipers a little later these days, and Mass is celebrated more frequently.

The schedule shift for the early service has come in response to the government-imposed overnight curfew. The extra services? Coptic Christians in Egypt's second-largest city say they have a lot of reasons to pray amid the nation's ongoing turmoil.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

1 Comments
Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is all too easy to be the bearer of bad news about Christianity in the Middle East. The last 100 years of their history has witnessed a profound series of crises from displacement by war, genocide and inter-religious conflict, to loss, emigration and exile.

Against this background, Christians have tried to resettle and build anew. They have been able to make a significant cultural, political and economic contribution to Middle Eastern society.

Some observers have suggested that there is a “Christian barometer” which provides the world with an accurate measurement of the political atmosphere in the Middle East. Progress towards freedom, particularly religious freedom, in the Middle East can be gauged by focusing on the status of the large Christian minorities.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted February 6, 2011 at 2:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

About 700 people have been arrested throughout Egypt in a crackdown against anti-government protests, security officials say.

The arrests came as police clashed with protesters in two cities following Tuesday's unprecedented protests.

One protester and one policeman were killed as police broke up rallies in Cairo, and in Suez a government building was reportedly set on fire.

Public gatherings would no longer be tolerated, the interior ministry said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

1 Comments
Posted January 26, 2011 at 4:27 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people," Ms. Clinton said.

The secretary's words suggested that the administration remains dangerously behind the pace of events in the Middle East....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted January 26, 2011 at 10:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As a Christian and an Egyptian, I was heartbroken by the New Year's Eve terrorist attack on the Coptic Church of Alexandria that killed 21 of my countrymen. Whether this heinous act was carried out by Egyptians or by terrorist groups from outside the country, the intention was surely the same: to sow discord between Muslims and Christians in a country long known for its religious tolerance.

The attack seems to fall within a larger pattern of violence against Christians elsewhere in the Middle East. Indeed, extremist groups that target Christians in Iraq explicitly stated their intention to bring their war against Christians to Egypt.

But while the recent attack led to an outpouring of anger among Copts, Egypt—unlike other countries in the region—has been remarkably immune to the scourge of sectarianism.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

3 Comments
Posted January 21, 2011 at 6:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An off-duty policeman opened fire aboard a train Tuesday in southern Egypt, killing one Christian and wounding five less than two weeks after the New Year's Day bombing at a church in Alexandria that killed 25 Coptic Christians, according to the state news agency.

There were few details on the incident and it was unclear whether the shooting was sectarian related. The state news agency, MENA, quoted an Interior Ministry official as saying a Muslim police officer boarded a Cairo-bound train in the town of Samalut in Minya province and began firing a handgun. The official said a 71-year-old Coptic man was killed and his wife and four other Christians — three women and a man — were wounded.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

7 Comments
Posted January 11, 2011 at 7:49 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Coptic Christians are preparing to celebrate Christmas Eve amid tight security after a bomb attack on a church in Egypt in which 23 died.

Armed Egyptian police have been ordered to protect churches where Copts are expected to gather in large numbers.

There have been calls for Muslims to hold vigils outside Coptic churches in a gesture of solidarity.

But some radical Islamist websites have urged more attacks, publishing church addresses in Egypt and Europe.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

7 Comments
Posted January 6, 2011 at 8:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican Bishop of Egypt has said all Anglican/Episcopal churches in the country are having to strengthen their security measures following the New Year’s Eve bombing that killed 19 and injured more than 90.

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis*, one of several religious leaders to speak out against the bombing at the al-Qiddissin Coptic Orthodox Church, said he was cooperating with a request from the Egyptian Security services.

"We express our deep sadness and mourn the loss of life after the New Year's bombing at a Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria," he said in a statement. "We also express our condolences to His Holiness Pope Shenouda III and to the families and friends of the victims of this terrible and inhuman attack.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsrael* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

2 Comments
Posted January 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“If this happened in a mosque, the government would be doing something,” yelled one parishioner in an angry street protest after Sunday morning Mass at Saints Church, the site of the bombing, where a crucifix wrapped in a blood-stained sheet stood sentinel. “But this happens to us every year, and every day, and they do nothing.”

The bombing early on Saturday morning climaxed the bloodiest year in four decades of sectarian tensions in Egypt, beginning with a Muslim gunman’s killings of nine people outside another midnight Mass, at a church in the city of Nag Hammadi on Jan. 6, the Coptic Christmas.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

9 Comments
Posted January 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Worshipers in Alexandria, Egypt, returned Sunday to the church that was the target of a deadly New Year's Eve bombing to hold a somber mass amid sobering reminders of the worst attack on Egypt's Christian minority in more than a decade.

Glass and debris still lay strewn about on the floor of the Al Qidiseen church where the dead and wounded fell after a suspected suicide bomber detonated explosives shortly after midnight Friday evening, killing 21 and wounding more than 90.

In the sanctuary, some sobbed as they followed the priest in chanting prayers and took communion. But when they emerged, along with wails of grief, there were cries of anger.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted January 3, 2011 at 5:17 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A devastating New Year's Day terrorist bombing at a Coptic church in Egypt that killed 21 people was the latest in a spate of violent assaults against the Middle East's vulnerable Christian communities.

The car bomb explosion also injured 79 people just after midnight Saturday as worshipers were leaving a New Year's Mass at the Saints Church in east Alexandria, Egyptian officials said. The bombing sparked street clashes between police and angry Copts, who hurled stones, stormed a nearby mosque and threw some of its books into the street.

Security forces cordoned off the area and used tear gas to disperse the crowd. A witness told the state-run newspaper Al Ahram that a priest calmed the Copts and urged them to stay inside the church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

1 Comments
Posted January 2, 2011 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anglican churches in Egypt have voiced their offence over recent statements by Coptic Pope Shenouda III, who, in his most recent sermon, declared that Anglicans did not adhere to Biblical teachings.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Latest News* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic Church

23 Comments
Posted June 3, 2010 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[FRED] DE SAM LAZARO: Author and democracy activist Alaa Al Aswany also blames poor governance for Egypt’s persistent poverty. He says the resulting frustration has often fueled sectarian tension, and beginning in the 1970s so has a steady rise in the Wahabi brand of religious conservatism, imported and financed from Saudi Arabia.

ASWANY: You have, for example, in Egypt more than 17 TV channels every day promoting the Wahabi ideas, and this way of understanding the religion is very exclusive in the sense that they are against anybody who is different. They are against Shia, people of Iran. They are against even Muslims who are for democracy, like myself, accusing me of being secular, against the religion. They are against Jews, of course. They are against Christians. They are against everybody who is not with them.

DE SAM LAZARO: Egyptians who grew up in the 50s and 60s see the growing influence of Wahabism. Most Egyptian women cover their hair today, and growing numbers don the niqab, covering all but their eyes. It’s evident even in cemeteries like this one, where you can see disagreement over allowing inscriptions on tombstones.

AHMED THARWAT (reading inscription): This is “the most merciful” whatever, and then somebody says we’re not supposed to do that, he wipes it, and you actually see the culture clashing in print, right before your eyes.

Read or watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

0 Comments
Posted February 27, 2010 at 1:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Seven Coptic Christians, including two priests, were sentenced to prison for allegedly being involved in a brawl in connection with a dispute over the purchase of a property by the Coptic Orthodox Bishopric of Delga and Deir Mawas, 270 KM from Cairo.

According to the Assyrian International News Agency the Misdemeanor Court in Mallawi upheld a verdict passed by the First Instance Court in April, 2007. The Rev Maximos Talat and Rev Bolah Nassif - priest of St George's Church were sentence to one week in prison and fined 200 Egyptian Pounds, "based on claims made by the 'aggressors' and without any legal basis," according to the their lawyer, Amgad Lamei.

In 2007 an adjacent property was legally acquired by the Bishopric from the Selim family. The dispute ensued after another neighbour, the Shaker family, said they have "right of first refusal" as they are cousins of the Selims, and subsequently occupied the property. The Bishopric obtained an eviction order from the Attorney General.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

3 Comments
Posted January 6, 2010 at 7:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christians used to be a vital force in the Middle East. They dominated Lebanon and filled top jobs in the Palestinian movement. In Egypt, they were wealthy beyond their number. In Iraq, they packed the universities and professions. Across the region, their orientation was a vital link to the West, a counterpoint to prevailing trends.

But as Pope Benedict XVI wends his way across the Holy Land this week, he is addressing a dwindling and threatened Christian population driven to emigration by political violence, lack of economic opportunity and the rise of radical Islam. A region that a century ago was 20 percent Christian is about 5 percent today and dropping.

Since it was here that Jesus walked and Christianity was born, the papal visit highlights a prospect many consider deeply troubling for the globe’s largest faith, adhered to by a third of humanity — its most powerful and historic shrines could become museum relics with no connection to those who live among them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOrthodox ChurchRoman CatholicOther FaithsIslam

1 Comments
Posted May 13, 2009 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(ACNS) Following a private meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, the Coptic Pope, received the Primates of the Anglican Communion at the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate in Alexandria on Saturday evening, 31 January. The Primates are meeting in Alexandria in the latest of their series of regular meetings.

In thanking Pope Shenouda for his warm welcome and hospitality the Archbishop of Canterbury drew attention to the significance of meeting together in the city where many of the universal doctrines of the Christian faith were formed and where the seeds of the Christian monastic movement had been sown in the fourth century.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican PrimatesPrimates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic Church

18 Comments
Posted February 1, 2009 at 4:33 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)