Bishop Moussa, head of the Youth Bishopric (Photo: Al-Ahram Arabic-language news website)
A senior Coptic bishop has praised Muslims in Al-Khosous who attempted to protect Christians during a recent bout of sectarian violence that left five people dead.
"The loving Muslims who protected Christians and the church during the deadly clashes in Al-Khosous highlighted the mistakes of the fanatics and showed the true meaning of religion and love," Bishop Moussa, who is in charge of youth affairs at the Coptic Orthodox Church, said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Our only consolation is that the victims gave their lives as a testimony to God and their pure souls ascended to heaven...," he added.
Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, along with other bishops, will on Thursday accept condolences from public figures at the papal headquarters in Abbasiya.
Deadly clashes erupted in Al-Khosous in Qalioubiya on Saturday after a group of Christian teenagers allegedly daubed what some Muslims deemed offensive symbols on the walls of an Al-Azhar institute in the town, state news agency MENA reported.
Four Christians and one Muslim died in the violence that followed.
On Sunday, a funeral for the Christian victims of the violence was held at St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo. As mourners were leaving the cathedral they were attacked by unknown assailants. Two people died and at least 90 were injured in the ensuing violence.
Police fired teargas and birdshot directly into the cathedral compound, sparking uproar among the Christian community.