Egypt's Christians determined in face of continued violence
At least thirteen people have been killed in violence between Egypt’s minority Coptic
Christian population and majority Muslims that erupted in the wake of the burning
of a church at the weekend.
140 people have been wounded, as well, as a result
of the violence that broke out in Cairo on Tuesday night - the worst since President
Hosni Mubarak was forced from office by a mass uprising characterised by solidarity
between Christians and Muslims.
The Director of the Press office of the Catholic
Church in Egypt, Fr. Rafik Greiche, told Vatican Radio that Egypt’s Christian minority
is united and determined to continue to play an integral part in their country’s social
and political life. “We know each other, we talk to each other, we try to support
each other, especially on the human level.” Fr. Greiche also noted that the recent
protests have reaffirmed the determination of Christians to be a presence in the country.
“There are Christians living in Egypt,” he said.
The Catholic Church, which
is only about 300 thousand-strong, compared to the 10 million Coptic Orthodox, plays
an important social role, especially in education and healthcare, operating several
medical clinics and more than 100 schools, many of which are in poor rural areas.
“The Muslims – even the fundamentalists,” said Fr. Greiche, “respect very much the
Catholic Church, for the services it [gives] to the Egyptian community.”
to Chris Altieri’s interview with Fr. Greiche: