The British Orthodox Church

within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate

Al-Qidiseen: Some questions which need to be answered

Having promised to investigate thoroughly the attacks on al-Qidiseen Church in Alexandria, the Egyptian government needs to decide whether any actions or failures on the part of Major-General Adel Aly Labib, who has been Governor of Alexandria since 2006, and the Minister of the Interior, General Habib Ibrahim El Adly, contributed in any respect to this tragedy. The Governor claimed that the attack had nothing to do with sectarianism, but it should be noted that:

  • A specific threat to attack Coptic Churches was made publicly by Al Qaeda in Iraq at the beginning of November, which was condemned by President Mubarak, who vowed he would protect the Copts;

Where was the heightened security ? What checks were being made on those entering or loitering near the church ?

  • For some weeks regular vociferous demonstrations against Pope Shenouda and the Coptic Church, with chanting of inflammatory and insulting slogans, have been taking place after Friday prayers in mosques in Alexandria and, that same evening in front of Al Kayed Gohar Mosque in Alexandria, Salafi Muslims held their seventeenth such demonstration;

Why were these demonstrations permitted, when a  demonstration by Copts at Omrania in Giza was dispersed with  live ammunition and showed security forces throwing stones at  Coptic demonstrators ? Why have anti-Coptic demonstrations been permitted since the attack ?

  • It is reliably reported that following the explosion, the mosque adjacent to the bombed church began broadcasting comments congratulating the Mujahedeen for their great achievement until the Interior Ministry cut off the electricity supply;

If national unity is the government’s aim, why are mosques  allowed to routinely broadcast anti-Christian propaganda;

  • Security forces withdrew from guarding the church one hour before the blast leaving only four policemen on guard;

Can promises to protect Copts and the churches be taken  seriously when security is so lax, yet the Security forces always  appear in large numbers in response to Coptic demonstrations ?

  • Video footage shows that following the atrocity Muslims began chanting “Allah Akbar” (God is Great) which incited the distraught Copts who survived;

As the attack was specifically aimed at the church and timed to coincide with worshippers leaving, how can the Governor  seriously claim that the attack was aimed at Muslims and Christians alike ?

  • Following the clash between Copts and Muslims after the incident, the security forces reappeared and started firing rubber bullets at the crowd as well as using tear gas on the crowd, including some of the wounded survivors.

Why were the Security forces not more pro-active in preventing the attack, assisting the victims rather than appearing to be  partisan in their handling of such outbursts of outrage by the Copts ?

  • It is reported that the  State security is preventing relations and friends from visiting some of the victims in hospital.

How is it possible now to exercise such tight security over hospital visits when nothing of the sort was put in place at the church ?


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