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Coptic christians Take To The Streets

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  • Thomas Daniel
    In Egypt, Coptic Christians take to the streets to protest degrading and misleading newspaper article about the Coptic Church and its leadership Press
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2001
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      In Egypt, Coptic Christians take to the streets to protest degrading
      and misleading newspaper article about the Coptic Church and its
      leadership

      Press ReleaseĀ… For more information contact Michael Meunier at 703-
      930-0120 or visit http://www.copts.com

      Washington DC (6/17/2001)According to U.S. Copts Association sources
      in Egypt, between 6000 to 7000 Coptic Christians demonstrated in
      Cairo on Sunday to protest against Al-Nabaa newspaper story about
      alleged sexual misconduct by a Coptic cleric.

      The Copts at first gathered inside and outside the Coptic Orthodox
      Cathedral in Abassyah, Cairo and demanded to speak to H.H. Pope
      Shenodah III, the Coptic Patriarch regarding a degrading story that
      was published in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Nabaa. The newspaper ran
      a headline reading "The Al-Mohurraq monastery is transformed into a
      prostitution house at the hands of its head monk". The story alleged
      that a monk at Al-Mohurraq monastery had sex with over 5000 Coptic
      women with the knowledge and blessing of the church leaders. The
      story alleged that the head of the monastery was also involved in an
      extortion scheme set by the monk and resulted in extorting over 5
      kilograms of gold. The story also published naked photos of the
      alleged monk having sex with an unidentified woman. This marked the
      first time in Egypt's history a sexually explicit story and photos be
      printed in a newspaper.

      The misrepresentation of the story by the newspaper and the degrading
      remarks about the Church in general, stir the feeling of hurt and
      anger among the Coptic community in Egypt, which has lately been
      battered by the government official media. The crowd of over 6000
      that gathered inside the Cathedral chanted " Pope Pope speak now, let
      the injustices go away" addressing the Pope and demanding an official
      position from the Church. After getting louder and louder, H.G.
      Bishop Youanees, the Pope's secretary, met with the crowd to calm
      them down and informed them that the Church has taken few steps to
      remedy the situation including sending official clarification letters
      to all Egyptian newspapers.

      The gathered crowd become angry and left the cathedral and flocked
      took to the streets carrying a large wooden cross and chanting: "with
      spirit, with blood we sacrifice ourselves for the cross:" "we will
      not be afraid, we will not be afraid", "we will not forget Al-Kosheh,
      we will not forget Sanabou", "Pope speak, Pope speak now".
      The demonstration that started around 9 pm and lasted for at least
      two hours, brought the traffic in Al-Abassyah in central Cairo to a
      standstill. The Egyptian police armed with riot gears attacked the
      protesters. According to our sources, close to 10 Copts were injured
      with various injuries, including a Copt with serious wounds to his
      face. US Copts Association does not have available information yet on
      the number of people arrested if any. The police was able to send
      the angry crowd back into the Cathedral where they continued their
      chants until the time of this release.

      The real story, however, leads to different account than that of the
      newspaper. The alleged monk was excommunicated from the Coptic Church
      in 1996 by Bishop Sawyeres, the head of Al-Mohurraq monastery,
      A statement issued by Bishop Sawyeres, the head of Al-Mohurraq
      monastery and sent to H.H Pope Shenoudah and a copy was received by
      US Copts Association reads the following: "Since 1996, the
      excommunicated monk, Barsoom El-Mahureqy, had no official or
      unofficial ties with the church or the monastery and has never
      entered the monastery... After being excommunicated, the monk was
      using his real name (Adel Sad Alah Kobreail) and that since he was
      expelled, the monastery had no control over what actions he took,
      what close he wore or if he kept or shaved his beard"

      US Copts association received information that the excommunicated
      monk had engaged in sexual activities sometime after he was expelled
      from the monastery, not before. In one of his mischief, he video
      taped himself having sex with a married woman and used that videotape
      to extort money from her. The woman reported the story to the
      Egyptian police and a copy of the tape was confiscated. Church
      sources told US Copts Association that the Egyptian police had leaked
      the tape to the newspaper in order to humiliate the Coptic Church and
      its leadership. Not only did the police leak the tape and the whole
      story to the newspaper, but also the newspaper was allowed to print
      these naked photos and mostly fabricated story and claim that the
      church leadership was involved in the cover up, even thought the
      police was well informed that the monk had been excommunicated from
      the church years before this story come to light. It is important to
      note the Egyptian government censors newspapers!!!

      In a statement issued in Washington immediately after the
      demonstration took place, Michael Meunier, president of US Copts
      Association said " we hope that this revolt by the Copts inside
      Egypt, the first of its kind in hundreds of years, sends a clear and
      strong message to the government that the Copts are sick and tired of
      their Christianity being degraded daily by the Egyptian media,
      especially TV and newspapers." Lately, Islamic clerics, such as
      Shiek Zaklol El-Nagar, have written articles that accused the Holy
      Bible of being counterfeited and forged by Christians. A claim that
      sparked a lengthy debate in Egypt and devastated the Copts who don't
      have equal access to the media. The wave of anti Christian authoring
      and speeches by the Saudi backed Shieks in books, on TV and in daily
      newspapers, has found no resistance from the Egyptian government,
      which criminalizes any misstatements about Islam and had sentenced a
      Copt to a 3 years jail term for inciting Islam.

      The Diaspora Copts, especially US Copts Association and its
      leadership stand in solidarity with the Copts inside Egypt in their
      quest for justice, equality and basic human rights. We call on the
      Egyptian government to immediately investigate the newspaper for
      these slanderous allegations against the church leadership and to
      investigate the police officers that leaked this story and videotape
      to the newspaper.

      --- End---
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