Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Egypt Police Use Violence to Block Church Repair

By Ethan Cole
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Aug. 25 2008 05:25 PM EDT

An Egyptian police reportedly struck three women while trying to stop them from repairing the only church in the area, a human rights group said.
The three Coptic Christian women were taking sand into the Archangel Michael Church in the village of Deshasha, south of Cairo, to fix the church’s cracked floor when the policeman assigned to guard the church hit them, reported the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) last week.
“The worrying rise in sectarian tension we've seen in Deshasha is a direct result of violations committed by the police,” said EIPR director Hossam Bahgat, in a statement. “This incident must be investigated and those responsible held accountable.”
According to the women (who requested to remain anonymous), the policeman refused to allow the women to take the sand into the church, telling them “You won’t bring one grain of sand into the church but over my dead body.”
After the Aug. 17 incident, rumors spread that the Copts had locked the policeman inside the church, beat him, and tore his clothes. As a result, several Copts – both men and women – said they were threatened by local Muslims and were afraid to leave their homes.
Moreover, six Coptic youths were arrested by police on Aug. 17 and 18 to be interrogated on charges of assaulting a public servant and using violence to prevent him from doing his duty. They were later released after questioning


Monday, 25 August 2008

International Coptic conference Cairo - change of venue

For those of you who are interested and for those of you who are going, due to circumstances beyond the control of the organiser, there has beena sudden change of venue.

The information I paste below:

"The congress meet­ings –including the ceremonial opening on Sunday night (8:30–10:30 pm) – will not take place at the Sonesta Hotel as planned, but rather at the CopticPatriarchate (Anba Rueiss Deir, Ramses Avenue, in Abbas­siya). We re­gret any and all inconvenience. For those participants who will stay at the So­nesta Hotel, there will be bus transportation to and from thePatriar­chate throughout each day of the congress (although as a matterof fact it will be best to plan to spend the entirety of each day at thePatriarchate)..."


"Congress registration at the Sonesta Hotel will begin on Saturday 13September in the late af­ternoon, ca. 4:00 pm, as previously announced,but it will end at 8:00 pm. Look for a sign in the hotel lobby.Registration will recommence at the Patriarchate on Sunday 14 Sep­temberat about 5:00 pm and run until 8:00 pm, after which (8:30 to 10:30 pm)there will be the ceremonial opening of the congress at thePatriarchate. There will be bus transportation from the Sonesta Hotel tothe Patriarchate, returning to the hotel after the opening ceremony.Congress registration will reopen on Mon­day morning (15 Septe"mber) at7:00 am at the Patri­archate, and the first plenary session will beginthere at 9:00 am.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Settlement and Separation - Abu Fana Monasterly land dispute

Missing the mark

A settlement of the Abu Fana Monastery land dispute, based on the ruling of an ad-hoc committee, was reached this week. The Coptic Orthodox Church relinquished 95 feddans (25 of cultivated land within the grounds of the Abu Fana Monastery and 70 of fallow land in the vicinity of the monastery), grudgingly, according to some Coptic clergy and laity. Moreover, a separating wall surrounding the monastery has been erected.

The ad-hoc committee established by the authorities to resolve the dispute was headed by Minya Governor Ahmed Diaaeddin and included leading Muslims and Copts such as Minya MP Alaa Hassanein and Mallawi businessman Eid Labib, as well as representatives of the monastery and of the Bedouin Arabs involved in the land dispute.

"Everything is now settled and everyone is content," Hassanein told Al-Ahram Weekly. "Christians and Muslims live side by side in peace and harmony."Speaking from the site of the disputed land, Hassanein explained that with the erection of the separation wall the monks would feel more secure as they carried out their activities.

Whether that will satisfy the firebrand politicians, both Coptic and Muslims, at home and abroad, who aimed to make political capital out of the unfortunate incident, remains unclear. Certainly the spat over Abu Fana has left some Copts embittered.

See teh above page for the full story.

Photograph of Bagawat


An exceptional black and white photograph of Bagawat in Kharga. Here's the caption, but go to the above page to see the photograph:

The Necropolis of Bagawat is a reminder of one of the most central battles of early Christianity; the dispute over the nature of Jesus. The 5th century bishop Nestorius was exiled to Bagawat (as the village was called) for having claimed that only one of Jesus' natures had suffered on the cross; the earthly nature, not the divine.

The large extent of the Necropolis of Bagawat is the result of his and his supporters' exile. The tombs here are believed to indicate that worship of the dead was continued in a Christian style.

There are 263 mud-brick chapels climbing up a ridge, the oldest dating back two centuries before Nestorius, the last dating back to the 7th century.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

20th Annual Egyptian Festival in Cleveland

St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church

The 20th Annual Egyptian Festival is opening at St Mark's in Cleveland (U.S.) is to take place between Friday 22nd August and Sunday 24th August 2008. A friend of mine attends this every year although she is not a Cleveland resident and not a member of the Coptic church - she says that it is a great experience, with a bazaar selling items that you'd find in a souk, excellent food and music and some special exhibits.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Pope Shenouda’s Recovery Photographs, Ohio

If you wish to view photographs of the recovery of Pope Shenouda's recent operation please visit
David Bebaway's weblog here http://dbebawy.wordpress.com/

Saturday, 16 August 2008

The Coptic Conundrum

American Thinker (by Raymond Ibrahim)

Why are Egypt's Coptic Christians so apathetic about their persecution?

The other night flipping through Arabic satellite stations, I came across a Coptic man who was lividly discussing the "Coptic question." His name was George Sa'ad, and he was speaking on the famous Arabic show, Al-Bayt Baytak, which airs on Al-Masriya ("The Egyptian"). It quickly became apparent, however, that his objections were not directed at Egypt's radicals or even the government; no, he was upset with the "trouble-making" Copts of the diaspora, particularly those living in the West. Sa'ad, a member of the Itihad al-Misriyin in Canada, (the "Egyptian Union") was claiming that there is no real problem in Egypt, and that it is the Western Copts who are creating all this "propaganda."

When the (Muslim) host asked him point blank what he would like to see changed in Egypt, all Sa'ad could muster saying was, "Certainly, there are things that need to be fixed!" He kept repeating this without once explaining what those "things" could be. When further pushed to explain, he said he'd like to see Copts have more influence on the Egyptian media -- just a bit more.

No talk however of the recent attacks Copts in Egypt have been exposed to -- such as the Abu Fana monastery raid, where Muslims attacked and abducted monks, tortured them and tried forcing them to spit on the cross and embrace Islam; or the repeated phenomenon of Muslims abducting young Coptic girls, raping and forcing them into conversion; or the recent slayings of Coptic store clerks; or the day-in-day-out discrimination Copts encounter in all walks of life.

See the above page for the full story.

Exhibition: More re fake Coptic items at the Brooklyn museum

Yahoo! News

The Brooklyn Museum, which recently announced its prized collection of stone sculptures from ancient Egypt was cluttered with fakes, is planning an exhibit with these pieces to raise awareness of forgeries in the world's art collections.

"We really have to face the fact that mistakes are made in museums just as they are made anywhere else," Edna Russmann, curator of the museum's Egyptian, classical, and ancient Middle Eastern art, said this week. "Museums are in the habit of hiding these things away."
The exhibit, "Unearthing the Truth: Egypt's Pagan and Coptic Sculpture," is set to open next February.

Russmann says she was long suspicious about some of the museum's 4th to 6th century Coptic, or Christian Egyptian sculptures, acquired before she joined the museum. Some scholars had already raised doubts about their authenticity and several years ago she decided to put the question to rest.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Pope Shenouda Cancels Press Conference on Abu Fana

By Amr Bayoumi- Said Nafie and Teresa Kamal Washington- Soad Amin
Pope Shenouda III has cancelled a press conference that was scheduled to be held yesterday about the Abu-Fana Monastery crisis and the outcome of the efforts by the ad-hoc committee formed to settle the crisis.The Pope granted the committee three days to renegotiate and reach a final solution, noting that the conference will be held in Cairo in case the committee failed.
The Malawi Diocese in Menya had earlier announced a press conference entitled ‘Revealing Truths’, during which a documentary about kidnapping and torturing monks at the hands of Bedouins would be shown.
Spokesman for the diocese Paula Anwar said the Pope’s decision came after reaching an agreement with official bodies regarding settlement of the dispute over land, provided that the criminals in the monastery incidents should be brought to justice.

Full article here:

Sunday, 10 August 2008

The dispute surrounding Abu Fana Monastery

Al Ahram Weekly by Reem Leila

The ad-hoc committee formed on 30 July to seek an end to the conflict that erupted between Bedouin Arab tribesmen and monks at the historic Abu Fana Monastery in Mallawi has ruled that the construction of a wall surrounding the monastery be resumed amid tightened security measures.

The committee, which was headed by Minya Governor Ahmed Diaaeddin and included Minya MP Alaa Hassanein, Mallawi businessman Eid Labib, representatives of the monastery and of the Bedouin Arabs involved in the dispute, decided the monks should control the northwestern areas of the monastery while the Arabs will have rights to the eastern and northern areas. Both parties are now obliged to put the agreement into action, says Hassanein. The committee has also stipulated that anyone failing to abide by its findings be fined an amount that has yet to be decided. Diaaeddin added that the committee recommended that any wall surrounding the monastery include only the original archaeological site, while a second wall will be built around Christian tombs close to the monastery. "A gate will be built, to be supervised by the monastery," he said. The committee's decisions, says Diaaeddin, carry the force of law.

The committee also stipulated that "Pope Shenouda III should work on convincing expatriate Copts to halt demonstrations under the claim Copts are being persecuted, which harms Egyptians, both Muslims and Copts," according to Diaaeddin. "They do not know our social and political climate, and their actions foment internal sedition," he said, adding that it was unacceptable to stage anti-Egyptian demonstrations

The Coptic Church is unhappy with the proposed settlement.

See the above page for the full story.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

International Congress of Coptic studies Cairo

A reminder that the ninth International Congress of Coptic studies is being hosted at the Sonesta Hotel, Nasr City Cairo, from September 14th to 21st

More information from the Association's website here:

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Egyptian Demotic

Egyptian Demotic

The chronologically penultimate variety of the Egyptian language is known as Demotic. Demotic is the most cursive script developed by the Egyptians. This stage of the language has, in many ways, connections to the preceding stage, Late Egyptian, and its successor, Coptic. Despite these affinities, demotic is a complete separated stage of ancient Egyptian language.

The Practical Guide to the Grammar of Egyptian Demotic is a learning tool for those who wants to start the study of the late stage ancient Egyptian language in a highly cursive script known as Demotic. In use from ca. 650 B.C. until the middle of the fifth
century A.D., Demotic served as the medium for a wide variety of text types. These include texts such as business and legal documents, private letters and administrative inscriptions, and literary texts, including not only narrative texts and pieces of wisdom literature, but also religious and magical texts and scientific texts dealing with topics such as astronomy, mathematics, and medicine. Demotic texts thus not only provide important witnesses for the development of ancient Egyptian linguistic and paleographical traditions but also constitute an indispensable source for reconstructing the social, political, and cultural life of ancient Egypt during a fascinating period of its history. Once you finish the entire book, you will have a great
foundation to read, translate and understand, with the help of a dictionairy and much effort, all those texts and get into the life and culture of late Ancient Egyptians.

This publication in an online version is offered as a series of PDF files in the Grammar page.

Egypt Churches Reject Potential US Intervention

Assyrian International News Agency

The split in Coptic opinion over foreign interference in Egypt's internal affairs once more reared its head Monday, as international Coptic organizations called for American action to protect Christians living in Egypt.

Senator Frank Wolf, Virginian Republican, introduced resolution 1303 on July 24, 2008. The resolution, as stated in a press release from the Coptic Assembly of America, "calls on the Egyptian government to respect human rights and religious freedoms" and urges the American government to put pressure on the Egyptian government with regards to this.

The demands include the release of political prisoners such as Ayman Nour, but it is the call to cease "harassment of religious minorities" that forms the backbone of the resolution.

After rallying for two months, it was announced Monday that the resolution has gained the required support from Congressmen to deliver it to Congress. Mandarins within Egypt's Christian Church, however, have expressed strong opposition to what many see as unnecessary and damaging interference in Coptic affairs. "It is true that Christians suffer many problems in Egypt, but this does not warrant a plea for foreign interference, as the necessary channels exist here in Egypt," Akram Alamie, media spokesperson for the Protestant Church, told Daily News Egypt."It is true that legally, Christian religious channels do not have permission to broadcast on state Egyptian networks [namely Nilesat], but problems can be aired through appearing on opposition channels.

See the above page for the full story.