Attack in Egypt: "Our response is to love our enemies", Jean-Marie Dumont, 2016-12-12

The attack on Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral on Sunday, December 11, by the Cop Orthodox Church left many dead and injured while attending mass. This church is near St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt.

Reaction of the Coptic Catholic bishop Michel Chafik, he is the former rector of the Coptic Catholic Mission of Paris.

Many women and children were killed and injured in an explosion at the Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Cairo last Sunday. Faced with this horror, how did you react?

Of course, I am deeply saddened. The only thing to do is pray for God to come and change people’s hearts. Killing innocent people praying and preparing for Christmas is a sign of hatred, an act against humanity. All of this is the result of the violent sermons that continue to be preached in Egypt. Many preachers today are descended from Muslim warlords or Muslim Brotherhood inciting hatred. And no one stopped them.

After the attack on the churches of St. Peter and St. Paul, some Coptic members condemned the lack of security measures in the church. Should it be improved?

What more should be done? More police, more guns? In my view, protection begins with education. Everyone must participate in this direction, starting with Al-Azhar University, a school that administers all the chapels and professors. Muslim cleric Al-Azhar himself also condemned the deadly attack: “Targeting a place of worship and killing innocent people is a criminal act that violates the teachings of Islam.” But we expect more from the Supreme Institute of Sunni Islam in religious education, so the Institute must learn to accept others to change things. And all those who preach hate understand that this cannot continue.

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Are you afraid of other attacks?

Anything is possible, especially in the near future.

What is the spirit of the Cop community?

It is a mixture of sadness and faith. One important thing: pray for the Lord to come and bring peace to hearts. We have no choice but to bury the dead, keep our sadness in our hearts, stand up for our rights and pray. Nor do we have any means other than that which Jesus gave us: to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us. Not a single teacher asks that. We must follow him.