Irish media is reporting that the Egyptian Coptic Pope has complained that attacks on churches and sectarian tensions have risen significantly since the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has taken power in Egypt. According to the RTE News report, Pope Tawadros II also complained that the Muslim Brotherhood government is doing little to protect them from violence:
Friday, 26 April 2013 Attacks on churches and sectarian tensions increased significantly after the rise of Islamists to power following the 2011 uprising that overthrew Mubarak, even though Christians had demonstrated alongside Muslims for his remova Coptic pope Tawadros II has said that Egypt’s Christians feel sidelined.
He said Egypt’s Christians feel ignored and neglected by Muslim Brotherhood-led authorities. Pope Tawadros said that the Egyptian government proffers assurances but have taken little or no action to protect them from violence.
The pope called official accounts of clashes at Cairo’s Coptic cathedral on 7 April ‘a pack of lies’.
He also voiced dismay at attempts by President Mohammed Mursi’s Islamist allies to purge thousands of judges appointed under ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
He said the judiciary was a pillar of Egyptian society and should not be touched.
The pope said: ‘There is a sense of marginalisation and rejection, which we can call social isolation.’
He said Christians make up at least 15% of Egypt’s 84m people and that most Egyptians are Sunni Muslims.
Attacks on churches and sectarian tensions increased significantly after the rise of Islamists to power following the 2011 uprising that overthrew Mubarak, even though Christians had demonstrated alongside Muslims for his removal.
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Copt is a term which usually refers to Egyptian Christians.
In January 2011, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood ended its opposition to a Coptic candidate for Egyptian President following a bomb attack against a Coptic church. Following the attack, the Egyptian Brotherhood issued a statement condemning the attack calling it “barbaric” and “cowardly.” The Brotherhoood had also posted a statement at that time from the Supreme Guide stating “the relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Copts has been amiable where history records the Muslim Brotherhood as perceiving the Copts as part of the nation.” Following an earlier 2010 shooting attack against Coptic Christians in southern Egypt, the Egyptian Brotherhood had released a similar statement asserting “the Brotherhood not only opposed sectarian prejudice but called for freedom of rights, religious freedom and tolerance.” Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi also condemned the 2010 attack call it “against Islamic principles.”
However, in 2008 a prize winning Egyptian author and former Shell Oil CEO blamed the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood for the deteriorating position of religious minorities in Egypt and said that “Coptic Christians, women and other minorities are paying the price of increasing Islamisation in Egyptian society.” In September 2012 the Secretary-General of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, gave a TV interview in which he accused Egyptian Coptic churches of storing weapons in their monasteries to be used against Muslims.