Coptic leader urges world to emulate persecuted Egyptian Christians' example of forgiveness

The world should emulate the example of forgiveness that Coptic Christians in Egypt have demonstrated in the face of persecution, harassment, and violence, according to a Coptic Orthodox Church leader in the United Kingdom.

(REUTERS / Ahmed Aboulenein)Christian families who left from Al-Arish in the North Sinai Governorate after the escalation of a campaign targeting Christians by Daesh militants arrive at the Evangelical Church in Ismailia, Egypt on February 24, 2017.

In the past three months, the Islamic State's affiliate in the Sinai region have killed around 40 Christians in religiously motivated attacks. Speaking to the Catholic News Agency in an interview, Coptic Orthodox Church general bishop Anba Angaelos hailed Egyptian Christians for being peaceful and forgiving even though they have fallen victim recently to a string of violent attacks and have been forced to flee their homes.

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"I take a huge pride in their witness and in their example," Bishop Angaelos told CNA in the interview. "And I think that really has given a substantial example for all of us to follow. If they can live with this grace and graciousness in that volatile setting, then in our day-to-day lives and in our day-to-day struggles, we should be able to do the same."

Bishop Angaelos admitted that the displaced Coptic Christians wish to return to their homes in Sinai. However, they are being held back by the ISIS affiliates who could still launch deadly attacks against them.

So far, Angaelos said the Coptic Christians' needs are being met by the government, based on his conversations with local church leaders.

Earlier this month, the Egyptian Red Crescent Society announced a LE6-million funding allocation to help the displaced Copts from Sinai. In Dakahlyia governorate, five apartments were furnished to accommodate fleeing Christians, Egypt Independent reports.

Despite the provision and aid for the displaced Copts, Bishop Angaelos said the international community must do its part in promoting peace in Egypt so that the Christians need not leave their homes because of persecution.

In addition, Bishop Angaelos called for prayer for the persecuted Christians of Egypt. He also said the United States should pressure Cairo to uphold equal rights for all the country's citizens including the Christians.

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