Friday, July 18, 2008

Pope Shenouda Rejects Report by Fact-Finding Committee on Abu-Fana Monastery Incidents

In a recent interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm (The Daily Egyptian), H.H. Pope Shenouda III unequivicollay rejected a report by the fact-finding committee on the Abu-Fana Monastery incidents in Menya, refusing to accept that it was merely a dispute over land.

While continuing to express his desire that Egypt resolve Egypt's problems, he had some strong words. Copts, he said, "will not be calm until the perpetrators are arrested and punished. The punishment should be appropriate to the crime they committed and the fire they fueled between Muslims and Christians."

He looks to the “homeland”, not outside intervenors and demonstrators, to act against those criminals and how the state will do justice to the victims.
Noting that the incident was part of a recent pattern, he pointed out that that there have been attacks against divers other monasteries and churches in Egypt during the past few years: “The reconciliation meetings they [hold] each time are unfair for Copts and have no effective results...The matter has no longer been acceptable either for Muslims or Christians who are concerned with the rule of law and preserving the state’s prestige.”

Further, he noted that failures of justice, “encourage the criminals to commit more crimes against Copts because they simply are sure that no one will bring them to account and that they will not pay the price for their crimes.”

With regard to meetings between the monasteries and Bedouins, he asked rhetorically, "What does this mean that the criminals sit with the victims? How will the criminals mend fences with victims who were brutally attacked and whose monasteries were robbed and sacred places were profaned in such an insulting way?"

He expressed his confidence that the government would punish the criminals and so deter others and his appreciation for President Hosni Mubarak and his non-discriminatory approach. Mubarak has intervened more than once to solve problems facing Copts.
You may find the article here.

NB: I'll note that I regret, to some extent, that many of my recent blog posts have about sectarian strife in Egypt, rather than on the usual topics. The fact, though, that I find myself posting almost unwillingly on these issues, is an indication of their importance.
Photo credit: Michael Sleman