News

Egypt’s President Sisi Vows to Rebuild All Destroyed Churches in 2016

Egypt’s President Sisi Vows to Rebuild All Destroyed Churches in 2016

Coptic Christians pray in a burned church in Egypt in 2013.
Coptic Christians pray in a burned church in Egypt in 2013.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi vowed during a speech at Coptic Christmas Mass to rebuild and renovate all churches and homes that had been torched during violence in 2013.

“We have taken too long to fix and renovate [churches] that were burned…this year everything will be fixed,” announced President Sisi as Coptic Pope Tawadros II stood by his side at St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Abassiya.

“Please accept our apologies for what happened…God willing…by next year there won’t be a single house or church that is not restored,” added President Sisi, referring to the torching of churches and homes of Coptic Christians following the ouster of President Morsi in July 2013.

President Sisi attended this year's Christmas Mass and was warmly received.
President Sisi attended this year’s Christmas Mass and was warmly received.

“We will never forget the honourable, respectful and great stance you and the Pope took during this period,” declared President Sisi amid cheers in the Cathedral.

More than 53 churches and Coptic institutions were torched or stormed across Egypt following the ouster of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in July 2013. Hundreds of other homes, businesses, and schools were also attacked in Sohag, Minya, Cairo, Assiut and other cities. In one incident, assailants torched parts of one of Egypt’s oldest churches that was reportedly built in the 4th Century.

A schoolgirl in Upper Egypt drew this to show solidarity with Coptic Christians. The image went viral across Egypt.
A schoolgirl in Upper Egypt drew this to show solidarity with Coptic Christians. The image went viral across Egypt.

Meanwhile, at least 11 Coptic Christians lost their lives in sectarian-related violence following the June 30 protests. In one case in Minya, a Coptic man and his wife were detained before being killed by armed individuals.

Despite the attacks being blamed on Islamists, stories and photographs of Muslims protecting Christians went viral across Egypt during the violent period. In statements to Egyptian Streets in 2013, Coptic Bishop Thomas confirmed that many communities united against extremism.

“Poor Muslim families brought blankets to the Christians who lost their homes, and together we formed a civil front– not Christians against Muslims– but civil society against extremism,” said the Bishop.

Since becoming President, Sisi has called for greater religious tolerance and reform in Islamic discourse. The Egyptian President also became the first Egyptian head of state to attend Christmas Mass.

St. Mary's Church in Fayoum attacked, looted in 2013.
St. Mary’s Church in Fayoum attacked, looted in 2013.

“We talk a lot about the importance of reforming religious discourse,” said President Sisi in a televised speech to Islamic scholars in December 2015.

“In our schools, institutes and universities, do we teach and practice respect for the other?” asked Sisi.

“We neither teach [respect for the other] or practice it,” declared the President in a grave tone.

“God did not create the world for the ‘ummah’ [Arabic for ‘nation’ or ‘community’] to be alone. [He didn’t create it] for one community, but for communities. [He didn’t create it] for one religion, but for religions.”

1,000 Men Harassed and Raped Dozens of Women, German Police Accused of 'Covering Up'
Egyptian President Sisi Attends Christmas Mass, Wishes Copts Merry Christmas

Subscribe to our newsletter


News

More in News

egypt

Egypt Defeats Uganda in African Cup of Nations

Egyptian StreetsJanuary 22, 2017
Egypt's Karim Abdel Gawad and France's Camille Serme

Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad Wins Tournament of Champions in New York

Egyptian StreetsJanuary 21, 2017
22.jpg.crop_display

Cairo Court Lists Egyptian Football Legend Aboutreika on Terror List

Egyptian StreetsJanuary 19, 2017
32385636795_e6f5d7101d_z

Egypt Secure Spot in Knockout Stage at 2017 Handball World Championship

Egyptian StreetsJanuary 19, 2017
1073779_big-lnd

Egypt’s Essam El-Hadary Makes African Cup History

Egyptian StreetsJanuary 18, 2017
pol

Eight Policemen Killed in Attack in Egypt’s New Valley

Egyptian StreetsJanuary 17, 2017
Tiran Island

Egypt High Court Declares Void Transfer of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia

Egyptian StreetsJanuary 16, 2017
Top-best-hd-wallpapers-dubai-skyline-hd-wallpapers-imagen-by-balamuda

Egyptians Invest EGP 13 Billion in Dubai Real Estate in 2016

Egyptian StreetsJanuary 15, 2017
Egyptian Streets is an independent, young, and grass roots news media organization aimed at providing readers with an alternate depiction of events that occur on Egyptian and Middle Eastern streets, and to establish an engaging social platform for readers to discover and discuss the various issues that impact the region.

© 2016 ES Media UG. All Rights Reserved.