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August 15th, 2013
03:48 PM ET

Egypt's Christians under pressure as churches are torched

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

(CNN) - As violence again scars Egypt, Christians in the country believe they're being targeted amidst the chaos following a government crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo.

There have been dozens of attacks on Christian churches, homes and businesses in the past 24 hours. Full details of the attacks are still emerging, as the country reels from its bloodiest day in recent history.

Bishop Angaelos, the Cairo-born head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, said he was told by colleagues in Egypt that 52 churches had been attacked in the space of 24 hours beginning Wednesday, as well as numerous Christian homes and businesses across the country.

Ishak Ibrahim, a researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, told CNN he had confirmed attacks on at least 30 churches so far, in addition to the targeting of church-related facilities, including schools and cultural centers.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Coptic Church • Egypt • Middle East

Amid Orthodox Christmas, Egypt's Christians fear for their rights under Islamist government
Newly elected leader of Egypt's Coptic Christian, Pope Tawadros II, (C) Head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, leads the Coptic Christmas midnight mass at the al-Abasseya Cathedral in Cairo late on January 6, 2013.
January 7th, 2013
04:00 PM ET

Amid Orthodox Christmas, Egypt's Christians fear for their rights under Islamist government

By Shahira Amin, Special to CNN

(CNN)–
It's Orthodox Christmas, but the mood in Cairo's working-class Shobra district this year is somber. There aren't many colorful festivities and decorations that traditionally mark Eastern Christmas celebrations in this predominantly Christian neighborhood, and Shobra's Coptic Christian residents say they are in no mood to celebrate.

Growing concerns about the rights of Egypt's Copts, who make up an estimated 12% of the population, have dampened the mood of Christians, overshadowing this year's celebrations.

"Many of my friends and relatives have left the country," said 27-year-old Beshoy Ragheb. "I would leave, too, if I had a place to go."

Threats by Muslim extremists against Coptic Christians in the past year have forced scores of Christian families to flee their homes in Dahshur and the Egyptian border town of Rafah. Meanwhile, extremist attacks on Christian churches and brutal attacks by security and military forces on Christian protesters demanding the protection of their churches in October 2011 remain vivid in the memories of many of Egypt's Christians.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Coptic • Coptic Church • Egypt

Egypt's Coptic Christians pick new pope
Bishop Tawadros, 60, was named the new Coptic Christian pope in a ceremony in Cairo on November 4, 2012.
November 5th, 2012
05:50 AM ET

Egypt's Coptic Christians pick new pope

By the CNN Wire Staff

Cairo (CNN) - Egypt's Coptic Christians picked a new leader Sunday, a process that involved a blindfolded boy choosing one of three names in a crystal chalice.

Bishop Tawadros Theodorus II - the nation's 118th Coptic Pope - replaces the former leader who died in March.

The death of Pope Shenouda III sparked anxiety in the embattled minority group in Egypt's Muslim majority.

Thousands of people flooded into a Cairo Cathedral in March to bid farewell to the 88-year-old pope who led the nation's Coptic Christians for about four decades.

FULL STORY
- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Coptic Church

September 19th, 2012
04:21 AM ET

Egypt charges Coptic Christians linked to infamous video

By CNN's Ed Payne and Saad Abedine

Egyptian authorities have charged seven Coptic Christians living in the United States and a Florida pastor with insulting Islam and inciting sectarian strife for their alleged links to an online video that has enraged much of the Muslim world.

Egypt's public prosecutor announced the charges Tuesday, the latest development in the deadly backlash against the low-budget, amateurish 14-minute movie trailer produced privately in the United States and posted on YouTube.

FULL STORY
- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Coptic Church • Egypt

Opinion: Anti-Islam video does not represent Coptic community
Protesters against the anti-Islam video confront police near the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Friday.
September 17th, 2012
04:09 AM ET

Opinion: Anti-Islam video does not represent Coptic community

By H.A. Hellyer, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Last Monday, only a few people knew about an obscure anti-Islam video produced in the U.S. Today, people around the world are aware of it. The video sparked protests worldwide, starting in Egypt and Libya, and then spreading to other countries. Tragically, some of the protests turned violent and took the lives of Americans, Libyans, Tunisians and Yemenis.

The protests have subsided for now, it seems. In assessing what happened, we have to be cautious and ensure that we do not point fingers in the wrong direction.

FULL STORY
- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Coptic Church • Islam

September 14th, 2012
12:05 PM ET

Controversy over anti-Islamic film shines light on Coptic Christianity

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) –Violence in the Muslim world over an anti-Islamic film that appears to have been produced by a Coptic Christian is bringing uncomfortable focus on the religious tradition.

A staffer on the film, which has provoked anti-American protests and violence across the Muslim world, said he believed that the filmmaker is a Coptic Christian, information that has sent shock waves through the Coptic community.

The staffer said the filmmaker told him he'd been to Alexandria, Egypt, to raise money for the film, suggesting that Copts were helping finance it. Media in Egypt, where Copt-Muslim relations are tense, jumped on the news.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Coptic Church

September 13th, 2012
11:31 PM ET

Coptic Church condemns anti-Islam film

CNN's Brian Todd reports on a link between the anti-Islam film and the Coptic Church. The church condemns the movie.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Coptic Church

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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

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