WCC Condemns 1/1/11 Attack on The Saints Church in Alexandria

The World Council of Churches issued a condemnation of the inhuman attack on innocent worshippers in The Saints Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria, Egypt in which a bomb was detonated at the conclusion of the New Year’s Divine Liturgy at midnight, killing at least 21 people and injuring at least 80.

From the press release:

The WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, on behalf of the fellowship of WCC member churches and the entire ecumenical family, expresses profound sorrow as well as condolences and prayers for the families of the victims, for the wounded and for all the people of Egypt. He encourages Egyptians to stand firm and united through the many trials and tribulations that continue to threaten.

The events of 1 January 2011 are a reminder of other tragedies in the region, including an attack on Coptic worshippers in Nag Hammadi, Egypt on 7 January 2010 and the lethal assault on the Church of Our Lady of Salvation (Sayidat al-Nejat) in Baghdad, Iraq on 31 October 2010. Tveit recalled that the Baghdad attack took place at the time of a significant Muslim-Christian dialogue in Geneva and that the Muslim and Christian leaders who were present issued a joint denunciation of the act.

The World Council of Churches appeals to President Mubarak of Egypt, to religious leaders and to governments across the region to act swiftly and boldly to safeguard the fundamental religious rights of worshippers of all faiths, to ensure security in the face of violence and to guarantee justice for all people.

Places of worship representing many different faith traditions have been targets of violence by extremists. Tveit said, “Government action must be matched by solidarity among Muslims, Christians and people of all faiths as they interact at the local level and together denounce any violent attack. We expect leaders to join once again in condemning such acts.”

In addition, the WCC Executive Committee expressed its deep concern and solidarity with the churches of Egypt while affirming its unequivocal support during these troubled times “during which Coptic Christians continue to provide living examples of true Christian witness, to the point of martyrdom.”