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Egypt, Coptic Church reject al-Qaeda threats

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/news/egypt-coptic-church-reject-al-qaeda-threats Egypt, Coptic Church reject al-Qaeda threats 01/11/2010 Alexandrian church
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 5, 2010
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      http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/news/egypt-coptic-church-reject-al-qaeda-threats

      Egypt, Coptic Church reject al-Qaeda threats

      01/11/2010

      Alexandrian church officials, along with Egypt's Foreign Minister
      Ahmed Abul Gheit, rejected on Monday a statement by an
      al-Qaeda-linked group responsible for Sunday's attack on a Catholic
      church in central Baghdad.

      In the statement, the militants gave the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox
      Church 48 hours to "release Muslim women detained in churches" in Egypt.

      Spokesperson for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, Hossam Zaki, on
      Monday said Egypt condemns such warnings.

      Kamil Seddeeq, secretary of the Coptic Ecclesiastical Council, echoed
      Zaki's rejection.

      Coptic Christians are carrying out their daily routines and religious
      rituals as normal because they trust the Egyptian government's
      ability to protect its land, people and sacred places, Seddeeq added.

      "We, as Copts, would like to remind al-Qaeda that Egypt's Copts are
      not like Iraq's Christians," he told Al-Masry Al-Youm. "And Egypt is
      not another Iraq."

      Antonious Ghattas, acting deputy of the Coptic Catholics Cathedral in
      Alexandria, dismissed the threat as vacuous. Places of worship,
      mosques or churches, should never be a target for attacks, he added.

      Ghattas denied that there were any detained converts in Egypt's churches.

      Refaat Fekri, chief priest at the Ard Sherif Church in Shubra, said
      the al-Qaeda threats will eventually lead to political conflict between states.

      "What is it that the Copts have done to al-Qaeda to make it say
      this?" he questioned, adding that such threats do not frighten Egyptian Copts.

      The al-Qaeda off-shoot, The Islamic State of Iraq, said it carried
      out the attack in Iraq to "support our weak Muslim sisters who are
      detained in the Muslim land of Egypt."

      The group also posted a video depicting a gunman leading a group and
      threatening the Coptic Church in Egypt. The gunman mentioned the
      names of Shehata and Qostanteen.

      The statement warned Copts that if they do not respond to the group's
      demands they will be opening the door to serious harm to Christians
      not only in Iraq, but also in Egypt, the Levant and other countries
      in the region. The statement warned that Christians and churches will
      be targets for attacks if they do not respond.

      Egyptian security forces heightened security preparedness across
      Egypt. A security source said the Interior Ministry is maintaining a
      continuous patrol of churches and preventing cars from parking around
      them. Entry to churches is also subject to strict scrutiny.

      The Holy Synod has also held a meeting to discuss the threats made by al-Qaeda.

      The Iraqi deputy interior minister, Hussein Kamal, said 52 people
      were killed, including hostages and policemen, when security forces
      stormed the church to rescue more than 100 Iraqi Catholics detained
      by the gunmen. He added that 67 people were injured in the operation.
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