Egypt: missionary hopes attack on Christians was 'an isolated case'

Zabbaleen boys - pic Wikipedia

Zabbaleen boys - pic Wikipedia

Ten people died in clashes between Muslims and Copts who were protesting against the destruction of their Church in Atfih, in Helwan, Cairo on the night between 8 and 9 March.

A missionary working in the area said he hopes this was an isolated case.  Comboni missionary,  Fr Luciano Verdoscia, who has worked for years in Cairo with the children in Mansheya, in the district where the garbage collectors live (called 'Zabbaleen'), located at the foot of the Moqattam hills, said: "“We hope that these remain isolated incidents, because we are seeing at the moment is all the sins of Egyptian society coming to the surface."

Fr Luciano said: “the district is divided into at least seven different areas. One is those is for the Zabbaleen (garbage collectors) where the Christians are concentrated. All other areas are inhabited by Muslims. A good part of the population come from the south of Egypt, where there are feuds that were then transported here. However, there are also many Christians who have a 'warlike' spirit. I have been working there for some time and am shocked by the verbal abuse by the local residents. When people have no cultural background and live in difficult conditions, these are things that happen in all countries.”
“What happened is indicative of the current situation in the country, which on one hand is arises out of ignorance, and on the other by a mistaken interpretation of religion. Even many Muslim scholars agree on this point, that there are some incorrect interpretations of Koranic verses allowing discrimination against women and Christians."

A demonstration by women for Internation Women's Day, in Tahrir Squarr was stopped by the authorities. Fr Kuciano said that was a negative sign, "which demonstrates the discriminatory attitudes towards certain groups in society, such as Christians and women." He said: "I hope that the people's revolution moves ahead to address these issues. Otherwise, we can not exclude the fact that the country slide towards civil war, or at least  more violent clashes between the different factions."
“Fortunately there are also encouraging signs,” said Fr Verdoscia, “such as the very timely and positive position taken by the imam of al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb, who condemned the destruction of the Church in Atfih, and by the army chief, who promised the reconstruction of the place of worship.”

Source: Fides

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