Egypt: After decades of persecution "things are getting better" for Christians

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Egypt: After decades of persecution "things are getting better" for Christians

By Fionn Shiner//acnuk.org

Despite the ongoing threat of extremist attacks in Egypt, the situation is improving for the country’s Christians according to a leading bishop.

Speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Coptic Catholic Bishop Kyrillos William of Assiut, expressed his hopes for Egypt’s Christians.

He said: “We thank God that the situation is getting better. The president [el-Sisi] has goodwill towards the Christians. He is a president for all Egyptians.”

But the threat of extremist attacks continues, as they want to make Christians fearful of their place in Egyptian society.

He said: “Attacks happen from time-to-time perpetrated by extremists. The goal is not only to attack Christians but also the Egyptian government.

“They want to say to Christians, ‘The government cannot protect you. You should leave Egypt.’

“They would like to establishtheir own state but in Egypt it will never materialise. Egyptians are close – Christians and Muslims are too united for the extremists to cause problems.”

The bishop added: “There is a mentality since 1952 that treats Christians as second-class citizens. Now, some change has happened and things are getting better.

“Building Churches is easier than before. We don’t have to wait years to get a church built.”

According to Bishop William, this is a marked change – for more than 160 years, Christians had to get permission from Egypt’s head of state for new church buildings.

Coptic Christian girls are still abducted with some reports suggesting the police facilitate the kidnappings.

He said: “In areas where the extremist organisations are strong they are happening but in our area it is not too much of a problem.”

Bishop William expressed gratitude for ACN and its benefactors, which provides Mass stipends, training of seminarians, church restoration, and more to Egypt.

He said: “We appreciate very much what ACN is doing in many countries to keep Christians in their homelands.

“We thank all benefactors for their help and donations to ACN so we can realise our dream of keeping Christians in the Middle East.”

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 14:06
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