The Anglican Bishop of Egypt has said all Anglican/Episcopal churches in the country are having to strengthen their security measures following the New Year’s Eve bombing that killed 19 and injured more than 90.
The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis*, one of several religious leaders to speak out against the bombing at the al-Qiddissin Coptic Orthodox Church, said he was cooperating with a request from the Egyptian Security services.
"We express our deep sadness and mourn the loss of life after the New Year's bombing at a Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria," he said in a statement. "We also express our condolences to His Holiness Pope Shenouda III and to the families and friends of the victims of this terrible and inhuman attack.
"It is very clear from the nature of this attack that it was planned by Al Qaeda, especially after the threats that were made against Egypt after the attacks on the church in Baghdad on 31 October 2010. We are currently cooperating with the Egyptian Security to improve the security measures of all our churches in Egypt. This will involve creating security barriers and security cameras. We are not used to such measures, but we have been requested to do this.
"We pray that all the people of Egypt, Christians and Muslims, would unite against this new wave of religious fanaticism and terrorism. We also request your prayers for us and for the Egyptian Government who tries hard to combat terrorism."
Archbishop Rowan Williams also issued a statement in which he highlighted the difficulties of being a member of a Christian minority in the Middle East: "The New Year’s Eve attack on Christians in Alexandria is yet another dreadful reminder of the pressure of Christian minorities are under in the Middle East, echoing the atrocities we have seen in recent weeks.
He added: "The Coptic community and other Christian groups in Egypt can be sure of our deep sorrow at this terrible event and our continuing prayers and support for them. We know the long and honourable history of co-existence of Christians and Muslims in Egypt and are confident that the overwhelming majority of Egyptian people will join in condemning this and similar acts."
At 12:00 GMT this coming Sunday, 9 January, all Coptic churches across Europe will be praying a general funeral service for all those Coptic Christians who have lost their lives in 2010. A statement from Bishop Angaelos, the General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom said: "This will be a peaceful and spiritual remembrance of painful and heinous targeted acts of violence against innocent worshippers."
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