JERUSALEM, 8/4/2013 – The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land condemns in no uncertain terms the violence perpetrated against Coptic Christians as they mourned the deaths of four Copts at a funeral service on Sunday, April 7, 2013 at St. Mark Cathedral in Cairo. The victims were killed on April 4 and 5 in al-Khosous, Qaliubiya.
“I am horrified at the reports of sectarian violence erupting at the close of the service and the injuries and death which resulted from young Muslims attacking the funeral procession from area rooftops,” stated Bishop Younan.
“This kind of violence is certainly not representative of Islam as a whole, nor does it reflect the teachings of the Qur’an. Anytime extremists use religion as a rationale for perpetrating crimes against others, God is deeply grieved,” Younan stated.
“I call on my church, the ELCJHL, and all Arab Christians to pray. I join my prayers with those of His Holiness, Pope Tawadros II, for the protection of the community under his care. These prayers extend to all Christians in Egypt and indeed for the preservation of Egypt itself for the good of all its citizens. A stronger, safer Egypt will be a benefit for all of its people and a sign of hope in our troubled region.”
Younan also stated “It is necessary to respect the existence of every religion. I agree with Khalif Omar Elkattab, who says, ‘Your freedom ends where the other’s freedom starts.’ We religious leaders should not allow our countries to become sectarian battlefields. This is not what God intends for creation.”
“I call on the President and the government, who are responsible to protect every Egyptian citizen. Further, it is the responsibility of the government to prevent attacks in any religious place. These are attacks on the human rights and religious freedoms of all. In addition, I call on the government to revisit the constitution so that every Egyptian has equal rights under the law.”
“I am encouraged to hear reports of a Muslim gathering outside the cathedral who sang ‘Christians and Muslims are from one hand.’ For citizens of the one Egypt, this statement of coexistence is the normal way of living in the Middle East. This is the kind of rhetoric that needs to be met with definitive actions by both Christians and Muslims so that peace and equality will be fully manifest in Egypt and throughout the Middle East.”
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