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     Home > Justice and Peace >  2013-08-16 16:16:36
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WCC invokes prayers, peace in Egypt

August 16, 2013 - The World Council of Churches (WCC) has called for prayers for healing, justice and peace for all Egyptians, after Christians were targeted in several places following Wednesday’s clashes in Cairo in which at least 623 people died and thousands were wounded. The deaths occurred when police cleared out two sit-in protest camps set up to denounce the military overthrow on July 3 of Egypt's first freely elected president, Islamist leader Mohamed Mursi. According to media reports some 17 churches have been burnt and hundreds of people have been killed across the country following Wednesday’s clashes. “The only way forward is for mutual recognition as equal citizens within Egypt, sharing responsibilities and authority, accepting the diversity of political opinions and religious beliefs,” WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit said in an official letter to the WCC member churches in Egypt. “The World Council of Churches and its member churches are greatly concerned by the violent turn of events in Egypt and call for an immediate end of violence from all sides,” Tveit said.
According to Father Hani Bakhoum Kiroulos, a spokesman for the Catholic Coptic Church, the military tried to evacuate the this sit-ins by the Muslim Brotherhood, whose members then went out and set fire to important sites, including many churches. Another spokesman for Egypt’s Catholic Church, Fr. Rafic Greiche said the Islamists attacked seven Catholic churches and a full fifteen religious structures of the Coptic-Orthodox and Protestant Churches.
The WCC general secretary said the people of Egypt have been going through a difficult moment in history since the political developments in 2011. However, Tveit added, “The Egyptian people showed on different occasions their belief in a multi-religious and multi-cultural society where all parties join hands in facing the current challenges and building a better future.” “This affects the whole of Egypt. I hope that this will not be interpreted as a conflict between Christians and Muslims,” he said in addition to his letter. Offering prayers for all Egyptians, Tveit concluded: “may God grant them comfort, heal their wounds and accompany them on their way to justice and peace.”


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