Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II has sought to calm fears in the wake of several attacks on Christians in North Sinai by jihadists last month. In a television interview broadcast on Monday, March 27 by CBC satellite channel, the Patriarch said the reports of violence are an exception to the norm. This was the country that welcomed and protected the Holy Family when they escaped Herod, as narrated in the Gospel of Matthew he said.
Patriarch Tawadros pointed out that the the attacks carried out by jihadist groups affect Egyptian Christians, but also the army, police forces and the judiciary.
Behind these terrorist actions of jihadists linked to the self-styled Islamic State (Daesh) - stressed the Patriarch - there are forces and organisations alien to Egyptian society, which aim to divide Egypt.
In the interview, Tawadros also highlighted the harmonious relations between the Church and civil institutions.
Regarding the forced exodus of more than three hundred Coptic families who fled from North Sinai in February, after a series of violent attacks on the Christian community, the Patriarch said this was an exceptional and temporary measure, taken to safeguard the lives of all, and confirmed that soon the displaced families will be able to return to their homes.
The news of the beginning of a counter-exodus of Christians of North Sinai was also confirmed on Sunday, March 26 by Anba Kosman, Coptic Orthodox Bishop of al Arish. The Bishop also reported that Masses are celebrated every day in al Arish, and has denied the rumors - which circulated in recent days on the internet - of "priests being hunted down" by terrorist groups in the capital of the governorate, confirming that the security situation is beginning to return to normal.