Coptic Catholic Bishop Kyrillos of Assiut, Egypt spoke with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) on August 19, 2013. He called on Western governments (U.S. and Europe) to work with the country’s new government in defeating the Muslim Brotherhood who are responsible for terrorism directed against nearly 80 churches and other Coptic Christian institutions.
The following is excerpted from the article by Aid to the Church in Need:
Describing how, since Tuesday (August 13th), almost 80 churches, convents, Church-run schools, clinics and other centers were hit, Bishop Kyrillos (pictured left) criticized the West (U.S. and Europe) for failing to acknowledge the scale of unprovoked attacks on innocent communities by Mr. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
The bishop said, “The Western governments are speaking about human rights; yes, these groups have a right to demonstrate, but not with arms. The Western governments do not see the reality of what is going on here.”
“A group of terrorists have used arms against us. [Western governments] should not be supporting this.”
Speaking from Assiut, Bishop William (Kyrillos) added, “The [Muslim Brothers] think that the Christians were the cause of Morsi being ousted. But the Christians were not alone: there were 35 million who went on the streets against Morsi.”
“Christians are being punished. We have been scapegoated.”
He stressed that, in spite of repeated efforts, including those by Western governments, to encourage the Muslim Brotherhood to engage in dialogue, the Islamist movement had responded with violence.
His comments come as Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Sidrak of Alexandria issued a statement Monday, August 19, in which he declared “our free, strong and conscious support for all state institutions, particularly the Armed Forces and the police, for all their efforts in protecting our homeland.”
Both he and Bishop William (Kyrillos) stressed how many Muslims had stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Christians in defending churches and other Coptic buildings from attack.
Bishop William (Kyrillos) said: “Our people are close to normal Muslims, moderate Muslims. When the fundamentalists came for the Christians in [Assiut’s] Old Town, the Muslims sent them away using arms.”
“In other cities, Christians and Muslims came to protect churches and they stayed next to the churches all day.”
He said that many Muslims shared the Christians’ view that there should be a clear separation between religion and the state.
Many bishops underlined how the attacks of last week came as a surprise. Bishop William said, “We had expected some response [from the Muslim Brothers], but not to this degree of brutality.”