Egyptian bishop: Christians live in fear as attacks continue

Luxor, Egypt, Aug 21, 2013 / 12:09 pm (CNA).- Bishop Joannes Zakaria of Luxor, Egypt, said that Christians in his country are running out of food, but are “afraid to come out of their homes” for fear of attacks by the Muslim Brotherhood.

In statements to the Fides News Agency, Bishop Zakaria explained that even those who have money cannot buy food because stores are closed.

“I would like to help Christians but I can’t because I myself am confined to my home,” he said.

Bishop Zakaria said that he was the victim of an Aug. 16 attack by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Fortunately police arrived on the scene in time to protect him, and two armored cars are now parked out front to shield his home.

However, the region is experiencing great unrest, with numerous Christian homes burned to the ground as the Muslim Brotherhood calls for “death to Christians,” he said.

“Because of security we canceled the celebrations of the Assumption, which we commemorate on August 22, not August 15,” the bishop explained.

“Everyone is at home, and I myself have been at the bishop’s residence for 20 days now.  Security officers have advised me not to leave.”

Bishop Zakaria said he thinks that the Muslim Brotherhood’s campaign against Christians for last month’s ousting of Egyptian President Morsi “is senseless.”

“It is true that Christians took part in some demonstrations against him, but there were 30 million Egyptians, most of whom were Muslim, who protested against the deposed president,” he observed, voicing fears that “by attacking Christians they want to send Egypt into chaos.”

“I make Pope Francis’ call for prayers for peace in Egypt my own,” the bishop said. “Only with dialogue and mutual respect can we get out of this dramatic situation.”

The recent violence in Egypt has left more than 1,000 dead and thousands more wounded.

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