Egypt’s Coptic Leader Urges Arabs to Halt Middle East Crisis
The head of the Egyptian Coptic Church has urged all Arab nations to find an “effective” way to reduce the violence in the Palestinian territories, reported the Daily Star newspaper.
“It’s miserable that cannons and rockets are standing in front of an unarmed people who only use stones,” said Pope Shenouda III, who is in Lebanon at the invitation of the Armenian Orthodox Church.
“And all this creates anger in Arab countries, which are obligated to demand that the international community intervene in an effective way to stop the violence in the holy occupied lands.”
This weekend commemorates the 1,700 years since the Armenian king proclaimed Christianity to be the state’s official religion, said the paper.
“At a time when the rest of the world was persecuting Christians, Armenia was the first nation to make it its state religion,” said Armenian Orthodox Bishop Sebu Sarkisian, who welcomed Shenouda to Lebanon.
Shenouda is also in the country to open the largest Coptic library in the Middle East and to lay the foundation stone for the first Coptic monastery in Beirut.
Shenouda thanked President Emile Lahoud and Premier Rafiq Hariri for re-affirming a state decision two years ago to recognize the Copts as an official sect in Lebanon. Shenouda also conveyed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s congratulations on the one-year anniversary of south Lebanon’s liberation, saying: “We have always followed Lebanese news and seek to defend it in any way we can.”
With tensions escalating in the region and frequent Israeli threats, Shenouda expressed his hope that the withdrawal would be a “complete one.”
Despite recent sectarian tensions in Egypt, Shenouda also confirmed the peaceful coexistence between the state and all other institutions in his country – Albawaba.com