Archbishop welcomes Amnesty report on violence against Copts

Posted Oct 9, 2013

[Lambeth Palace press release] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has welcomed a new Amnesty International report calling on Egypt to prevent “deeply disturbing” attacks on Coptic Christians.

The report describes an “unprecedented” level of attacks against Coptic Christians following the dispersal of two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo on Aug. 14, with Copts widely perceived as supporting the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi.

The deeply sectarian attacks — which have also taken place against other Christian denominations, including Catholic and Evangelical ones — have frequently been preceded by incitement from local mosques and religious leaders, the report says.

Speaking to The Times last night, Welby said: “I welcome this timely report from Amnesty International. Attacks on any community are deplorable and any state has the responsibility to protect its citizens. The appalling attacks in August on the Christian community in Egypt highlight the need for all citizens to be duly protected.”

The report argues that Egyptian authorities failed to prevent mob attacks on Christian churches, schools and charity buildings in August that left at least four people dead and buildings burnt to the ground.

The archbishop, who met with Coptic and Anglican leaders in Cairo in June, added: “Despite the pressure they are under, by the grace of God, Christians in Egypt continue to do all they can to work for the good of the whole of the society of which they are an essential part.”

Last Sunday, the archbishop joined an Anglican-Coptic service of prayer for people caught up in unrest in Egypt, Syria and the wider Middle East.

Speaking before the event, he said: “I am delighted that Anglican and Orthodox Christians will worship together and remember in prayer the very difficult, indeed life-threatening circumstances in which some of the churches are living.”