Head of Egypt s Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros at his weekly sermon on Wednesday (Photo : Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church s Media Center)
“This week, we felt a great pain for the attack on the Archpriest Arsanios Wadid who he was among the popular priests who served the church greatly, we look to God and know that God witnesses everything, and we are surely waiting for the investigations currently undergoing which we have to be gone thorough,” Pope Tawadros II.
The pope added that he hopes the investigations’ results would be made public.
Egypt’s Public Prosecution on Sunday ordered the detention of the man accused of murdering the 56-year-old priest of the Church of the Virgin Mary and Mar Boulos in Alexandria for four days pending investigations.
A criminal court ordered the suspect placed under medical examination in a public hospital specialised in the treatment of mental illness to investigate claims he made during his interrogation that he suffers from a mental illness that made him “lose control over his actions,” the Public Prosecution posted on its Facebook page Friday evening, adding that it was still investigating the incident.
During his weekly sermon at Anba Bishoy Monastery in Wadi Al-Natroun, Behaira governorate, Pope Tawadros II also demanded that the authorities responsible for maintaining “peace in society, especially on religious matters" monitor what is being published in the newspapers or broadcast on TV channels or on social media as well as what is spread about cases of disappearance or abduction of Egyptian Christians.
“This needs transparency regarding the sensitivity of the issue; it negatively impacts the solidarity and unity of the nation,” he said, stressing that the matter needs serious attention.
In the past few days, three controversial incidents involving reports of discrimination against Christians went viral on social media.
The first incident involved an alleged abduction of a Christian woman who appeared in a video clip saying that she converted to Islam.
The second incident involved a Christian woman and her child who were reportedly not allowed to eat in a famous koshary chain in Cairo in the wee hours before Ramadan’s Iftar.
The third involved a huge public outcry among both Muslims and Christians after Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper published - in print issue and the online edition - a fatwa by a radical conservative Syrian sheikh forbidding the serving of food to “infidels” and eating in public during fasting hours in Ramadan.
Following the outcry, Al-Masry Al-Youm removed the online version and issued an apology to readers.
The Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR), which regulates non-state press and media in Egypt, summoned the newspaper’s legal counselor to discuss the fatwa story which “caused incitement and supports discrimination among the citizens,” a statement by the the council read.
“I know that the security authorities have exerted good efforts in many cases and foiled the negative impacts that come from them, and I hope this will be the case here,” Pope Tawadros II said.
“We live together in the new republic whose renaissance is led by his excellency President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi with all the officials in all sectors, but this new republic is not only projects and achievements, which we are all happy with of course, but it is also renewing the mind and thought with education and correcting concepts and upgrading the people culturally,” he said, adding it is important to encourage coexistence and true citizenship.
“Safeguarding the national unity is the most precious thing we have in Egypt,” the pope said.