Nick Benson

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Egyptian priest praises Muslim support of threatened Christians

A spokesman for Egypt’s Catholic Church praised local Muslims for helping embattled Christians after a series of Daesh attacks in Sinai.

Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Coptic Catholic Church, said Christians must differentiate between ordinary Muslims and extremists.

“Ordinary Muslims are kind and try to help however they can – they’re often first on the scene, rescuing the injured and taking them to hospitals,” he told Catholic News Service on 3rd March, as Christians continued to flee Egypt’s North Sinai region.

Fr Greiche said the attacks had affected only Coptic Orthodox Christians, but added that Catholic churches and schools in Ismailia had offered shelter to Orthodox families with help from Caritas.

Fr Greiche said Daesh militants were now “strongly entrenched” in North Sinai, having been allowed by the Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood organisations to use tunnels from the Gaza Strip.

He added that civilians were better off not staying in the surrounding military zone, which was now “under attack all the time,” but said he believed the Egyptian authorities were committed to protecting Christians against the Islamist insurgency.

Picture: Displaced Egyptian Christian families, who used to live in the north of the Sinai Peninsula, sit near their belongings after arriving at a church in Ismailia on 24th February. Catholic churches in Ismailia, with help from Caritas, have helped Coptic Orthodox fleeing Daesh attacks in North Sinai. (CNS photo/EPA).

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