Church Blasts: Egypt parliament approves emergency

condemnation pours in from around the Arab world

Image courtesy: Twitter

CAIRO, 12 April 2017: Egypt parliament has approved a three-month emergency following the death of more than 40 in two blasts in churches in Egypt on 9 April.

A suicide bomber killed at least two people and injured 21 in front of a church in Alexandria, Egypt on Sunday, state television said.

The blast occurred hours after a bombing rocked a Coptic church in Tanta in Egypt’s Nile Delta, killing at least 25 people and injuring 60, according to a report carried by Reuters.

Tanta Blast: The death toll in a church bombing in the Egyptian Nile Delta city of Tanta has climbed to 21, with 50 more injured, state television said on Sunday.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility and the cause of the blast, just one week before Coptic Easter and the same month as Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Egypt, was not known, according to a report carried by Reuters.

Egypt church blast Image credit - REUTERS Africa via Twitter

Early Report:  There was an explosion inside a church in the Egyptian Nile delta city of Tanta on Sunday, Egypt’s state television has reported. According to a report carried by Reuters, the cause of the blast was not yet known, and there was no immediate claim of any responsibility, said Wam.

UAE leaders offer condolences for victims of terrorist attack

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan sent a cable of condolence to President of Egypt Abdel Fatal El Sisi on the victims of a terrorist attack, which targeted Mar Gergis Church in Tanta City, Egypt, on Sunday.

The UAE President stressed the solidarity of the UAE with sisterly Egypt, by supporting its fight against “this heinous criminal act,” expressing his confidence in the cohesion of the people of Egypt and their ability throughout history to remain unified to defeat “this despicable terrorism by using all means.”

He also extended the UAE’s condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims and the people of Egypt, wishing a quick recovery to the injured.

Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, sent similar cables to the President of Egypt.

UAE condemns terrorist attack 

The United Arab Emirates has strongly condemned the terrorist attack on the Mar Girgis Church in Tanta, Egypt, which resulted in the death of dozens of innocent victims.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, affirmed the solidarity of the UAE and Egypt, standing by the side of the brotherly nation in confronting this criminal and malicious act.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed expressed his confidence in the solidarity of the Egyptian people and its ability to uphold its national unity and defeat this abhorrent terrorism.

He conveyed the condolences of the UAE to the Egyptian people and wished the victims a speedy recovery.


El Sisi presides over National Defence Council, calls Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has presided over the National Defence Council meeting to follow up the repercussions of the bombing of the Mar Girgis Church in Tanta and an explosion in Alexandria.

President El Sisi discussed with His Holiness Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, over the phone the repercussions of these events, which took place on Sunday.

President El Sisi is closely following the fallout from the bombing of the church. He has directed the Egyptian Prime Minister, Sherif Ismail, and all competent authorities to immediately visit the site of the incident and send their reports to him. He also instructed them to take charge of providing care to the injured.

pope francis
Image credit: Pope Francis blesses with holy water as he leads the Palm Sunday Mass in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican, April 9 2017. Photo by Tony Gentile /Reuters

Pope Francis condemns Egypt church blast

Pope Francis, who is due to visit Egypt this month, has condemned the blast that killed at least 21 people and injured 50 more at a Coptic church in the Nile Delta, Reuters has reported.

Speaking at the end of his Palm Sunday Mass before tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square, he said, “I pray for the dead and the victims. May the Lord convert the hearts of people who sow terror, violence and death and even the hearts of those who produce and traffic in weapons.”

The Pope also expressed his “deepest condolences” to all Egyptians and to the head of the Coptic Church, who is due to be one of his hosts on the April 28th-29th trip.

The blast was the latest assault on a religious minority that has increasingly been targeted by Islamist militants, the agency said.

alazhar grand imam
Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sharif, Ahmed Al Tayyeb

Al Azhar condemns Egyptian church attack

The Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sharif has condemned the terrorist attack that took place inside a church in the Egyptian Nile Delta City of Tanta, north of Cairo, on Sunday, terming it as a heinous crime against all Egyptians.

“Attacks against places of worship go against the authentic Islamic religion and its teachings of tolerance, but fail to undermine the unity of the Egyptian people,” the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sharif, Ahmed Al Tayyeb, said in a statement today.

He stressed that attacks of this kind, instead of creating intimidation and increasing sectarianism, have the effect of strengthening the determination of Christians and Muslims to remain united and to support together the fight against terrorism.

Ahmed AlTayyeb expressed solidarity with the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, expressing full confidence in the capability of Egyptian security forces to chase the criminals and bring them to justice.

He expressed full condolences to Pope Tawadros II of the Egyptian Coptic Church, and solace to the Egyptian people and families of the victims, wishing the wounded a speedy recovery.

Saudi Arabia condemns bombing of two Churches in Egypt

An official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s strong condemnation of the two bombings in Mar Gergis Church in the Egyptian city of Tanta and the vicinity of St Mark’s Church in Alexandria, north of Egypt on Sunday, which resulted in dozens of the dead and wounded.

The source said, “These cowardly acts of terrorism are contrary to all religious principles, moral and humanitarian values,” offering condolences to the families of the victims and Arab Republic of Egypt’s government and people, wishing a speedy recovery for the wounded.”

Kuwait condemns Egypt’s church blasts

An official source at the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry expressed Kuwait’s strong condemnation of the “terrorist” explosions that hit two churches in Egypt’s Tanta and Alexandria on Sunday and left scores of people dead or wounded.

According to Kuwait News Agency, KUNA, the source “voiced Kuwait’s absolute solidarity with Egypt in all measures it is taking to protect its security and stability, believing that Egypt is well aware of the criminal goals of such disgraceful acts, which undermine national unity and social fabric.”

The source also reiterated Kuwait’s principled positions based on rejecting all forms and manifestations of violence and terrorism, and calling for more international efforts “to uproot this serious phenomenon.”

It concluded by offering heartfelt condolences to the Egyptian leadership, government, people and victims’ families and wished swift recovery for the injured.

Oman condemns terrorist attack on Mar Gergis and Saint Mark Churches in Egypt

The Sultanate of Oman condemned on Sunday the two terrorist attacks that hit Mar Girgis Church in Tanta City of Egypt and Saint Mark’s Church in Al Raml Station in Alexandria, according to Oman News Agency.

In a statement issued on Sunday by the Foreign Ministry, the Sultanate of Oman expressed “its full solidarity with the government and people of the sisterly Arab Republic of Egypt against the two heinous incidents that targeted innocent victims during their worship anywhere and anytime.”

The Sultanate of Oman extended its sincere condolences to the people of Egypt and the families of the bereaved, and wished speedy recovery for the injured.

Bahrain condemns terrorist attack on church in Egypt

The Kingdom of Bahrain has condemned the terrorist attack that targeted the St. George Church in Tanta, Egypt, on Sunday.

According to the Bahrain News Agency, BNA, the Kingdom’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, expressed solidarity with Egypt and support for all measures to deter terrorism to maintain security and stability.

The Foreign Minister emphasised that these criminal acts will never succeed in undermining the unity and steadfastness of Egyptian society, and reiterated Bahrain’s firm position, which rejects violence, extremism and terrorism.

He called on the international community to strengthen cooperation efforts to root out this grave phenomenon, eradicate its causes, and drain its sources of funding.

The ministry expressed its condolences to Egypt’s government and families and wished the victims a speedy recovery.

OIC condemns terrorist attack on Egypt’s Mar Gergis Coptic Church

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, OIC, condemned strongly the terrorist attack on Mar Girgis Church in the Egyptian city of Tanta on Sunday 9th April 2017, which claimed lives of innocent civilians and injuring others.

The OIC Secretary General, Yousef A. Al Othaimeen, conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims and to the government and people of the Arab Republic of Egypt in general, wishing the wounded speedy recovery.

Al-Othaimeen also reaffirmed the OIC’s principled and resolute position against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

Geneva-based rights centre condemns bombings at Egyptian churches

The Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue has strongly condemned today’s terrorist bomb attacks that targeted two churches in the Egyptian cities of Tanta and Alexandria.

“The two bombings were carried out by criminals who use religion to justify their heinous acts against Egyptian Copts who gathered to observe Palm Sunday,” said Chairman of the Geneva-based rights centre Dr. Hanif Al Qassim in a statement.

“Killing compatriots on their holiday represents maximum decadence of values and ethics,” he said while stressing that Arab states should follow in the steps of the UAE and issue legislation that criminalises hate speech and punishes anyone for disseminating information that insult any culture, faith or people anywhere in the world, he noted.

Criminalising hate speech should be precede renewing religious rhetoric, he stressed.

He proposed an international charter for criminalising hate speech, extremism and attacks on religions and insults aimed at matters considered holy to religions.

The proposed charter, he noted, should be under the umbrella of the United Nations, where all states should sign the charter and their parliaments should endorse it and work accordingly towards enacting relevant national legislations, he said.

“Terrorism propagated by the culture of hate has become a global phenomenon and must be countered with an international stance that criminalise and curtail the rhetoric of hate while severely punishing all those who spread this rhetoric,” Al Qassim added.

By Sheena Amos