Murder mystery inside Egyptian monastery stirs concerns for monk on death row

Egyptian monk Philotheos lies on a stretcher during his trial at the courthouse in Damanhur, Egypt, in February 2019. (AFP/Getty Images)
November 27, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. GMT

CAIRO — It was one of Egypt's most sensational murders: Deep in the desert, a bishop was allegedly bludgeoned with a metal pipe. Suspicion fell on two monks, turning a spotlight on a cloistered world of intrigue within the nation's Coptic Christian priesthood.

Pope Francis prays for Egyptian Copts who died in attacks near Cairo

The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has prayed for the victims of attacks on Copts in Egypt.

Francis expressed closeness Sunday to “the Orthodox Copt brothers” of Egypt after the attacks two days earlier in a Cairo suburb. At least nine people died in the attack on a church and on a nearby store that was owned by a Copt.

 

Coptic Victim of Attack on Egypt Christians Renovated Mosque for Free Before His Death

Egyptian men attend the Friday weekly prayer at al-Azhar mosque in the capital Cairo's Islamic quarter, on October 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images

by ALI WAKED3 Jun 2017632

Among those killed last Friday in an attack on Coptic Christians that resulted in 30 deaths was 66-year-old Atef Mounir Zaki, who had recently renovated a local mosque for free.

According to Coptic academic Iz Tawfiq, who spoke with the website Al Arabiya, Zaki was a renovations contractor from the town of Abou Karkass in the Minia district where the attack on a bus of Coptic pilgrims occurred last Friday. Zaki was also used to provide equipment and workers to construction sites.

 

الهيئة القبطية الهولندية تلتقى برئيس البرلمان الأوروبى ورئيس المفوضية

المصدر:الأهرام اليومى
 
بقلم: شادية يوسف
 
تعقد الهيئة القبطية الهولندية، أكبر لقاء رسمى داخل البرلمان الأوروبي، نهاية العام الجاري، بعد موافقة أعضاء البرلمان الأوروبى على الجلسة الرسمية، للهيئة القبطية الهولندية بعقد الجلسة داخل البرلمان الأوروبى ببروكسل بحضور كبار رجال الأعمال الأقباط والمنظمات القبطية بأوروبا ومراسلى الصحف الاجنبية والمصرية.
 
وتؤكد الهيئة أنها حصلت على موافقة رسمية من البرلمان الاوروبى بعقد الجلسة وبحضورعدد من اعضاء البرلمان الأوروبى للمطالبة بإدراج وحظر أنشطة جماعة الإخوان المسلمين فى أوروبا وتصيحيح الصورة المشوهة ضد مصر لدى دول الاتحاد الأوروبي.
 
ويشارك فى هذا اللقاء بهاء رمزى رئيس الهيئة القبطية الهولندية والمنظم العام للمؤتمر وسامح سوريال نائب رئيس الهيئة القبطية والدكتور إبراهيم حبيب رئيس أقباط متحدون بريطانيا وعصام عبيد المتحدث الرسمى للهيئة القبطية الهولندية، والناشط جمال جرجس والناشط جون سدراك رئيس اللجنة السياسية للهيئة القبطية الهولندية والناشط حسنى بباوى منظمة أقباط النمسا والعديد من المنظمات القبطية بأوروبا وعدد كبير من ممثلى المنظمنات القبطية الاقباط بأوروبا ورجال الأعمال ووسائل الإعلام المصرية والأوروبية كما سيتم الإعلان عن جميع الاسماء فى مؤتمر صحفى الشهر المقبل.
 

Egyptian President Calls for ‘Religious Revolution’ in Islam

Wants to displace violent jihad

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
 
In a speech on New Year’s day, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for a “religious revolution” in Islam that would displace violent jihad from the center of Muslim discourse.

“Is it possible that 1.6 billion people (Muslims worldwide) should want to kill the rest of the world’s population—that is, 7 billion people—so that they themselves may live?” he asked. “Impossible.”

After the Arrest of EIPR’s Executive Director:

We are proud of our defence of rights of Egyptians and call on all those keen on human rights in Egypt and the world to show Solidarity

In a new escalation of the unprecedented crackdown against the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, security forces arrested Gasser Abdel Razek, Executive Director of EIPR, from his home in Maadi and took him to an undisclosed location.

Security forces in the afternoon of Wednesday, 18 November, also arrested Karim Ennarah, EIPR’s Criminal Justice Unit Director, in Dahab, South Sinai, where he was on a short vacation. The arrest took place one day after security forces went to his home in Cairo in his absence. After being questioned at a State Security premise outside Cairo, and after 24 hours had passed, Karim appeared this afternoon on Thursday 19 November before the Supreme State Security Prosecution in Cairo.

Arrest of Reda Abdel Rahman, Professor at the al-Azhar Institute 

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) calls for the release of an Azhar teacher

accused of spreading "Quranism" and the end to the prosecution of people with different religious affiliations

EIPR (17.11.2020) - https://bit.ly/3pUoZG9 - The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) called for the release of Reda Abdel Rahman, a teacher at the al-Azhar Institute in Kafr Saqr, Sharqia Governorate, and the dropping of the charges against him and others for publishing what is known as Quranism. Sources from Abdel Rahman's family said that on August 22, 2020, security forces arrested him and seven other relatives, all of them belonging to the family of Ahmed Sobhi Mansour, a former professor at al-Azhar University and a thinker known for adopting the doctrine of Quranism, and the sources added that the security forces asked them questions related to their relationship with Ahmed Sobhi Mansour and the fact that they adopted the doctrine of the Quranists, and released all of them except for Reda Abdel Rahman, who continued to be held in the National Security headquarters in Kafr Saqr.

Religious freedom violators could be targeted under new UK government powers

Marcus Jones

New powers aimed at people involved in serious human rights abuses are being brought in, the Foreign Secretary said.

The UK is bringing in a new regime to target the "worst human rights violators", the Foreign Office has stated.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: "From today, the UK will have new powers to stop those involved in serious human rights abuses and violations from entering the UK, channelling money through our banks and profiting from our economy.

Qatar’s European Fund for Islamic Terror

By 11 Comments

Qatar allegedly continues to put out billions of dollars to support and finance terrorist and extremist operations in Europe. International newspapers have reported that Qatar sends its funds through the Qatar Charity Foundation, where they recently provided about 71 million euros to be delivered to the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe under a charitable cover.

It has been stated by various sources the alleged details of Qatar’s plans concerning the participation of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe and the participation of Doha, Qatar in establishing more than 90 centers for the terrorist group in various European countries.

Egypt: 70 churches legalised as church and mosque demolished

Fri 22 May 2020by Heather Preston

The Egyptian Government has legalised 70 churches this week, meaning they cannot be prosecuted for being used for worship.

In Egypt, the construction and renovation of Christian churches is not permitted without first submitting a request to local government for approval.

On Tuesday 19th May, following a meeting of the Government Committee that oversees the legalisation of churches, the decision was issued to legalise 70 church buildings for Christian meetings.

This brings the total number of churches that have been legalised by the committee to 1,638.

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Egyptian authorities extend prison sentence of Coptic Christian activist

Thu 07 May 2020by Premier Journalist

A prominent Coptic Christian human rights activists has had his detention extended by a further 45 days by the Egyptian authorities.

Rami Kamil was arrested on 23rd November 2019 after police raided his home in the early hours of the morning. He is known for founding the Maspero Youth Union following the brutal Maspero Massacre in which 27 Christians were killed by the Egyptian military. Following his arrest, it is thought that Kamil was subject to intimdation and relentless questioning. He was subsequently accused of joining a terrorist organisation, receiving foreign funding, disturbing public order, inciting the public against the state, and using social media to incite sectarian tensions between Muslims and Christians. 

Persecution of Christians review: Foreign Secretary’s speech following the final report

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt thanked Bishop Mounstephen for his report about Foreign & Commonwealth Office support for persecuted Christians.

Delivered on:
8 July 2019 (Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)
The Foreign Secretary and Bishop of Truro

Good morning ladies, gentleman. Welcome to the Foreign Office.

When I was moving house last year, I came across a book called God’s Smuggler which I first read when I was about 10. At the height of the Cold War, Brother Andrew van der Bijl would smuggle Bibles across the Iron Curtain to communist countries where Christianity was ruthlessly suppressed.

Christian persecution 'at near genocide levels'

A statue of Virgin Mary broken in two parts at the St. Anthony's Shrine, Kochchikade church in Colombo

Image copyrightREUTERSImage captionThe report comes less than two weeks after bombings at three churches in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday

The persecution of Christians in parts of the world is at near "genocide" levels, according to a report ordered by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The review, led by the Bishop of Truro the Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen, estimated that one in three people suffer from religious persecution.

ONTARIO INTRODUCES THE FIRST BILL IN CANADIAN HISTORY TO RECOGNIZE EGYPTIAN HERITAGE

Published on May 02, 2019

Sheref Sabawy, Member of Provincial Parliament of Ontario for Mississauga-Erin Mills has introduced a Bill to the legislature to recognize the month of July as Egyptian Heritage Month.

[Mississauga, Ontario] Sheref Sabawy, Member of Provincial Parliament of Ontario for Mississauga-Erin Mills has introduced a Bill to the legislature to recognize the month of July as Egyptian Heritage Month. The Bill references the month of July, because it is in line with the Egyptian National Day celebrations.

Law & Religion UK

Issues of law and religion in the United Kingdom – with occasional forays further afield

Law & Religion UK


CofE riposte to Home Office on letter to Christian convert – updated

The Church of England has issued the following response to the Home Office concerning the asylum letter regarding an Iranian Christian convert. In its refusal of asylum, the Home Office had used quotations of violence in the Bible as evidence of bogus claim.

His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, has also commented on the Home Office response, and this is reproduced below.


Response to Home Office letter regarding Iranian asylum seeker

21/03/2019

Asia Bibi: Pakistan acquits Christian woman on death row

  • 31 October 2018

Media captionAsia Bibi's escape from Pakistan death row

A Pakistani court has overturned the death sentence of a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy, a case that has polarised the nation.

Asia Bibi was convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a row with her neighbours.

Egypt’s Copts nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

September 28, 2018 By World Watch Monitor
The Copts were nominated for “their refusal to retaliate against deadly and ongoing persecution from governments and terrorist groups in Egypt and elsewhere
. (Photo: Watani)

Egypt’s Coptic Christians have been nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for choosing peaceful coexistence over retaliation in the face of persecution, reports the US-based news site PR Newswire.

It is believed to be the first time in the 116-year history of the prize that an ethnic religious group has been nominated, said the news site. The US-based non-governmental organisation Coptic Orphans submitted the nomination.

Copts Celebrate First Mass in New Church

MIRNA ABDULAAL
JULY 25, 2018

After seven years of closure of their old church by local authorities due to ‘security reasons’, the Coptic community in the Egyptian village of Kom el – Loufy celebrated the completion of the first phase of building their new church, the Church of Virgin Mary and Martyr Aban, by holding their first ever Mass on Sunday.

Previously, the priest of the Saint Abu Sefein Coptic Orthodox Church near the village of Ezzbet Rafla welcomed the Copts in his church.

Following the closure of the old church, the Copts experienced serious discrimination as two young angry Muslims set fire to four Coptic homes in the village after rumors had spread that one of the houses would be turned into a church.

International Religious Freedom Report for 2017

United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

EGYPT 2017 INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM REPORT

Executive Summary
The constitution describes freedom of belief as “absolute” and specifies Islam as the state religion. It also enshrines the principles of sharia as the primary source of legislation, which local lawyers stated creates potential legal ambiguities with regard to the freedom of belief guaranteed in the constitution. The constitution only provides adherents of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism the right to practice their religion freely and to build houses of worship. The government continued not to recognize and restrict Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Bahais. According to multiple sources, authorities continued to detain and physically mistreat former Muslims. Irrespective of religion, authorities also did not apply equal protection to all citizens and sometimes closed churches, in violation of the law, according to multiple sources. Courts charged citizens, including Muslim clerics, with “denigration of religions.” Christians reported discrimination by authorities, especially in rural areas. The government completed rebuilding 78 churches and other church-owned properties which had been destroyed or damaged in mob violence in 2013 and repaired Saints Peter and Paul Church in Cairo after a December 2016 suicide bombing that killed 29 people. It also issued an unprecedented civil marriage license to a Bahai couple with no religious affiliation designated on their national identity card. The government continued its efforts to preserve the nation’s Jewish heritage, including starting work to renovate and protect a historic synagogue in Alexandria. There were incidents of official anti-Semitism and public anti-Semitic statements by Al-Azhar, the country’s primary institution for spreading Islam and defending Islamic doctrine. According to religious leaders, educators, and families, the Ministry of Education made progress in removing language from school textbooks that it said could engender hate toward non-Muslims or promote the view that Islam was superior to other religions. The government-supported Islamic institutions Al-Azhar and Dar al-Ifta, the country’s fatwa issuing authority, continued to debate reforms to Islamic jurisprudence which mandates the death penalty for apostasy from Islam.

World Watch Monitor

After a three-year wait, the Egyptian Coptic families of 20 men beheaded by the so-called Islamic State in Libya in 2015 have finally received their loved ones’ remains.

The leader of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, accompanied by several bishops, priests and deacons, welcomed the 20 coffins at the Cairo airport on Monday evening, 14th May, with prayers and Coptic chants.

Copts receive bodies

The families finally received their loved ones’ remains yesterday. PICTURE: World Watch Monitor

From there the coffins were transported to the village of Al-Our in Minya province, where the Church of the Martyrs of Faith and Homeland, dedicated to the victims, had been inaugurated in February in anticipation of their repatriation.


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