Parties and leaders react to Khosous, Abbasseya violence

The Freedom and Justice Party denounced violence that took place in Khosous in Qalyubiya Governorate and outside the Coptic cathedral in Abbaseya, and reiterated its support for all national initiatives to bridge gaps and preserve the nation.

“What is happening is proof that there are elements that seek discord between the sons of the homeland by making up events to provoke religious feelings and lead to sectarian strife, so as to drag the country into chaos that only benefits the enemies of Egypt and their corrupt associates,” the party said in a statement Sunday.

Clashes broke out Sunday at St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Abbasseya, Cairo, after unknown assailants attacked a funeral for four Coptic Christians who had died during violence in Khosous. Fighting at the cathedral continued on and off into the evening, and clashes reportedly broke out in Khosous, according to ONtv satellite channel.

The FJP called on Al-Azhar, the Coptic Orthodox Church and all national forces to take the lead, calm citizens and make them aware of the seriousness of being misled by attempts to provoke them.

It also called on all Egyptians, Muslims and Copts, not to respond to such systematic provocation, and to comply with the law to obtain their rights and bring the perpetrators of such discord to account, irrespective of their religions or affiliations.

The party stressed the sanctity of Egyptian blood, rejected the use of violence by any party, and demanded that security services quickly unravel what it called “schemes aimed at inciting sectarian strife.”

Meanwhile, Mohamed Emara, a leading Nour Party member, said those incidents show beyond doubt that there are secret forces fomenting chaos and exploiting the insecurity and instability of the country to ignite sectarian strife among the sons of the homeland.

Emara warned on Facebook Sunday of drifting behind such destructive attempts at sedition, murder, arson and sabotage, calling on the concerned authorities to quickly identify those involved in these events and hold them accountable.

Hamdeen Sabbahi, leader of the Popular Current movement, said Egypt is exposed to deliberate attempts to spread sectarian strife and a widespread misinterpretation of religion, and that the country is experiencing a sad moment that could lead to many unfortunate consequences.

At a symposium held at the British University Sunday, he added that the regime is unable to deal with this crisis.

“The people, especially the young, need to use the tolerance of the three Abrahamic religions, and the law must punish those responsible for this sedition,” he said. “We need to see more than sheikhs and priests just shaking hands.”

The liberal Free Egyptians Party also denounced the incidents, describing them as “barbarian behavior against holy places,” and wondered why President Mohamed Morsy and his group are not reacting.

Grand Mufti Shawqy Allam sent condolences for victims of the events in Khosous and at the Abbasseya cathedral, and wished the injured a speedy recovery. He expressed his commiserations with the families of the victims on Facebook.

Pope Tawadros II earlier called on people to remain calm to preserve the nation, saying he and church officials were closely following the situation.

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