Coptic Pope Faults Egypt over Violence at Cathedral

By Kirkpatrick, David D | International Herald Tribune, April 10, 2013 | Go to article overview

Coptic Pope Faults Egypt over Violence at Cathedral


Kirkpatrick, David D, International Herald Tribune


The leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church on Tuesday accused the government of President Mohamed Morsi of "delinquency" and "misjudgments" for failing to prevent sectarian street-fighting.

The leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church on Tuesday accused the government of President Mohamed Morsi 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 Chrisitans dead.

"This is the first time the main Coptic Orthodox Church is attacked in Egypt's history," the church leader, Pope Tawadros II, said in a television interview, accusing Mr. Morsi's government of failing to act fast enough control the violence.

Direct criticism of the government by an Egyptian church leader was all but unheard of under Hosni Mubark, who was ousted as president more than two years ago amid a wave of regional revolts. The pope's comments appeared to reflect the end of the fear of reprisals, as well as the growing anxieties among Christian leaders distrustful of Mr. Morsi and his Islamist allies.

The weekend violence was the first major test of Mr. Morsi's stated commitment to protecting Egypt's Christian minority. Riot police officers deployed to stop the clashes outside the cathedral appeared to join rock-throwing youth battling Christian mourners inside. Police officers showered the cathedral with tear gas, some entering the sanctuary. …

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