First, a prayer from Pope Francis to Mary, Queen of Peace.
Second, a message from Coptic Bishop Youhanna Golta of Alexandria, Egypt.
Arab West Report is an online magazine dedicated to fostering greater understanding and tolerance between Arab and Western cultures. The interview with Bishop Golta was reprinted on the website of the Oasis Center, which Milan Cardinal Angelo Scola established to promote Christian-Muslim dialogue.
Most of Bishop Golta’s interview with Arab West Report was conducted on 13 August and, in it, the bishop called discrimination against Christians an “ideological and strategic mistake by extremist groups.”
“There is no street or alley in Egypt that does not have both Muslims and Christians living together,” he said. “It is impossible that Egypt gets divided. Egyptians are indivisible.”
He said that, historically, Islam was “the only religion that did not plan on eliminating other people.”
“Occupiers usually requested the occupied people convert their religions to those of their occupiers,” he said. “Muslims did not do that. [Extremists] are deleting this icon in Islamic history.”
The bishop rejected the term “Coptic issues,” used to refer to issues that concern Egypt’s Christians.
“We don’t have Coptic issues, we have Egyptian issues,” the bishop said. “That Copts are granted their rights while Muslims are deprived of them is not acceptable to me and indeed impossible to achieve. That the Copts undergo development while the Muslims live miserably is unacceptable and will not happen.
“We both rise and develop together or not. I am a believing Christian and I hope to die as a Christian, but Muslims face more injustice than Christians. The rate of poverty and unemployment among Muslims is higher than that the average rate. Here the view must be to Egypt as a whole and not to Copts only,” he said.He called for “separation of religion and state, but not separating religion from society.”
“There is a difference. I am for having a state whose laws are civic laws, but we must also nourish society with the spirit of religion and ethics.”
Responding to a question about whether a third party should facilitate dialogue among Egyptians, Bishop Golta responded, “Never! The [European Union] and U.S. should never intervene,” then added the United Nations to his response.
“They have the money but not the rational or emotional capacity,” he said. “The EU and the U.S. only care about their interests. We are an impoverished, humiliated, ignorant, marginalized, beastly people in their views.
“No third party should intervene,” he repeated. “If we didn’t know how to resolve our issues on our own, then we should not deserve to live.”
Third, an idea from the layman named Frank. Send money to help the Christians in Egypt! This ain’t no third-party request, either, as the Holy See is already on the ground in Egypt.
Now, Joe Six-Pack doesn’t have the pull to institute a second collection at Mass (if you know someone who does, by all means put a bug in their ear) globally. But the good folks over at CNEWA (the Catholic Near East Welfare Association) have a webpage for donations set up to help the Christians in Egypt.
Go there now, and break out the plastic. Share the link with friends and family. Give early, and give often.
Consider it a corporal work of mercy with absolutely no prayer of making a difference, and you’ll be acting with the right frame of mind. just give as generously as you can.
Any help to Christians in Egypt to rebuild their churches, helps the country as a whole.