For the third week in a row, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II canceled the weekly meeting of public prayer and catechesis he holds every Wednesday afternoon in the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo.
Announcing the cancellation, the Secretary General of the Council of Churches in Egypt Fr Bishoy Helmy explained that the decision had been made because of the current difficult moment the country is facing, affected by the violence that followed the overthrow of Morsi’s government and the beginning of a new phase of political transition under the protection of the army.
Since 30 June the Coptic Catholic Bishop of Minya Botros Fahim Awad Hanna and Pope Tawadros have both avoided appearing in public, not for their own personal security but because they do not wish to put crowds in danger of attack.
Currently some people are accusing Christians of being responsible of the popular uprising of 30 June.
The Ministry of the Interior has increased levels of protection around Pope Tawadros and the Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed al Tayyeb. Both the Patriarch and the Imam appeared at the side of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on 3 July, when the strong man of the Egyptian army announced the transition plan for the next phase to the deposition of Islamist President Morsi.
In the clashes that followed Morsi’s arrest, six Copts were killed by gangs of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis. In the transitional government presented on Tuesday, July 16, there are three Copts ministers out of 33: environment minister Laila Rashed Iskandar, tourism minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour and scientific research minister Ramsi George.
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