Copts protest Church’s Christmas invitation to SCAF and Islamists

Ahram Online, Friday 30 Dec 2011

Dissent erupts among Coptic activists enraged over the Church inviting the military council and Salafist leaders to Christmas celebrations

Copts protesting against attacks on churches at Maspero last spring (Photo: Reuters)

Tens of Coptic activists staged a demonstration inside the Coptic Cathedral, the main Coptic Church, on Thursday.

The protesters who included members of Coptic activism group Coalition of Maspero Youth was protesting the Church’s invitation to the ruling military council as well as Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists figures to attend Christian celebrations on the 6 January which is the eve of Coptic Christmas.

Coptic activists rejected the Church’s invitation to members of the current ruling military council (SCAF), on grounds that the army is responsible for the killing of peaceful protesters since taking power in February.

“The Church should not have invited the military council members after they ran over and killed our honourable Coptic brothers in Maspero” says Rami Kamel, member of Coalition of Maspero Youth.

On 9 October, a Coptic march in front of the state television building Maspero was met with deadly force. Eyewitnesses reported that the army shot live gunfire, and video footage showed military armed personnel carriers (APCs) running protesters over. Twenty-six protesters, mostly Copts, were killed in the deadly crackdown.

Kamel also rejected the Church’s invitation to representatives of Salafist political parties, who have made defamatory and sectarian statements about Egypt’s Copts.

Moreover, some Coptic activists also denounced the Church’s decision to hold Christmas celebrations at all, arguing that the Church should officially mourn the lives of at least 21 Copts who were killed on new year’s eve in 2011 in a terrorist attack on the Two Saints Church in Alexandria.

No perpetrators of the attack on the Alexandria church have been identified or punished by the authorities yet.

The Maspero Youth Coalition demanded that the Coptic Church not take part in political deals altogether, rejecting the idea of sending invitations to political parties and the country rulers. 

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