Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pope's call for Middle East to protect Christians sparks Egypt fury

Cairo recalls ambassador to the Vatican after what it deems 'unacceptable interference' in foreign affairs

Pope Benedict XVI was tonight at the centre of a new diplomatic storm after Egypt recalled its ambassador to the Vatican in protest at the pontiff's call for Middle Eastern governments to do more to protect their Christian minorities.

Cairo's dramatic reaction came amid reports of a further attack in Egypt in which a Christian died. The interior ministry said an off-duty policeman boarded a train in southern Egypt and opened fire, killing a 71-year-old man and wounding five other Christians, including the dead man's wife. The attack raises fears of a new wave of rioting by Christians still mourning the deaths of at least 21 worshippers as they were leaving mass at a Coptic church in Alexandria on New Year's Eve.

In a statement, a spokesman for the foreign ministry said Cairo's ambassador had been called back for consultations "after the Vatican's new statements that touch on Egyptian affairs and which Egypt considers an unacceptable interference in its internal affairs".

In a speech to diplomats accredited to the Holy See on Monday, the pope said the Alexandria bombing, coming after a string of attacks in Iraq, showed "the urgent need for the governments of the region to adopt, in spite of difficulties and dangers, effective measures for the protection of religious minorities".

Quoting from a message agreed by a synod of bishops last year that discussed the situation of Christians in the Middle East, the pope said they were loyal citizens who were entitled to "enjoy all the rights of citizenship, freedom of conscience, freedom of worship and freedom in education, teaching and the use of the mass media". He also praised European countries who had asked for action by the European Union to protect Middle Eastern Christians.

The foreign ministry's protest was echoed by Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayyib, the imam of the Al-Azhar, the leading institute of Islamic learning in the Sunni Muslim world. He said: "Protection of Christians is an internal affair and should be carried out by the governments as [Christians] are their citizens like other citizens." He added: "We reiterate our rejection of foreign interference in the internal affairs of Arab and Islamic countries under whatever pretexts."

In Rome, a senior Vatican official, said Egypt's reaction was "the proof that the things said by the pope have hit the mark". Monsignor Jean-Louis Bruguès, stressed he was speaking in a personal capacity.

John Hooper in Rome, Tuesday 11 January 2011 20.34 GMT


1 comment:

  1. It is time to build a Hebrew-speaking Christian buffer state
    between Israel and Syria, including parts of Lebanon, Golan, Jordan, Cyprus,
    and Sinai. Christians in Arab countries are hostages. The first
    Christians were Hebrew Good Samaritans. And these hostages are Hebrew
    Christians. Now that we know the Gospel was written in Hebrew and not
    colonial Grecian or colonial Arambaic, we know that Paul wrote his
    Epostiles to the Hebrew Diaspora, who became the first Christians.
    The Christians of Lebanon have been under Syrian occupation since 1974
    and have departed only nominally. The only way we would push back
    abominal millenia of Islamic and quasi-Christian heresy is if we
    establish a Christian bastion in the Holy Land. This bastion would be
    the friend and ally of Israel, a rebirth of the Good Samaritan
    homeland which is the essential halo force field around Israel for the
    Rapture and Revelation. You may ask why should we break up
    established countries? They are no such thing. The French still want
    to establish a Greater Seleucitanian Syria out of Iraq, Jordan, Turkey
    and Lebanon, which has always been the object of their chemical
    industrial feedstock policies. The French (children of the evil
    Robbespierre) and the Russians (children of the evil Magog Obshchina)
    took the Middle Eastern Christians into their heresies before the
    Evangelical Missionaries could make contact. And with such huge
    colonial armies against them, the poor Gospel Missions never had a
    chance. But the Evangelicals are the true brothers of these Ancient
    Believers and we must project America's Glorious Military might to
    correct these injustices. Brethren, we must act quickly for the End
    Times are near. We must begin by demanding Turkey allow full
    evangelical freedom in the remaining parts of its empire. Turkey is
    beholden to America and we cannot tolerate their failure to support
    Israel and Iraq any longer. America and Israel are Turkey's only
    friends and Turkey must not be allowed any other choice but to convert
    to the mission of the Gospel. Move forth Glorious brethren for blessed
    are those who would defend the Lord's people: Both the Ancient Hebrew
    Christians and their still-Jewish brethren.


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