View Full Version : Islamist To Egypt’s Christians: Pay ‘Protection’ Tax Or Move Out

12-02-2015, 04:00 AM
TEL AVIV – In the first such visit in 35 years, the head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church attended the funeral of a local bishop in Jerusalem, sparking controversy in Egypt for Pope Tawadros and his decision to enter the Jewish state.

Reported Haaretz:

‘Some critics argued that the visit violated the ban on pilgrimages to Israel that was imposed in 1980 by Tawadros’ predecessor, Pope Shenouda III, in the wake of the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. The church said no actions should be taken that could be interpreted as normalization of relations with Israel, as long as Jerusalem was defined as occupied territory.

‘Supporters of the visit say the ban was political and that Egyptian Copts should be allowed to travel anywhere in the world.’

Coptic Christians made up the majority in Egypt until several centuries after the Arab conquest of the seventh century. They now account for only 5 to 10 per cent of the population, according to statistics.

Following the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood during the start of the so-called Arab Spring, Muslim villagers in March 2011 reportedly set fire to a Coptic church while attacking Christians on the streets.