Egypt: Coptic bishops back Sisi - 'he protects us from ISIS'

'He is president of all Egyptians'

28 March, 11:54

    (by Rodolfo Calò) (ANSA) - CAIRO, MARCH 28 - Two Coptic Catholic bishops, including one who is on the frontlines of the war on ISIS, have said their communities feel protected by Egyptian authorities and therefore they support the re-election of President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi.

    ''In the whole province of Ismailia, in the eastern part of the delta'' of the Nile and the ''Suez Canal, within my diocese, we are well protected'', Bishop Makarios Tewfik, told ANSA.

    The bishop is in charge of an area bordering with the governorate of Sinai, in the north-western part, a stronghold of the Islamic State which the army has been fighting since February in an anti-terror campaign presented by Sisi as key.

    ''We feel and we see that the current government is doing everything it can to protect us'', confirmed Kyrillos William Samaan, bishop of Assiut, a city some 300 kilometers south of Cairo.

    ''All churches are under police protection: during the holidays, moreover, soldiers are also deployed, each time there is a threat measures are taken'', the bishop also told ANSA.

    Regarding the electoral support to Sisi by Christians in Egypt, the Coptic ethnic-religious minority, which represents about 10-15% of the country's population and the largest Christian community in the Middle East, Mons. Kyrillos confirmed: ''Certainly, we support the president because his initiatives and gestures show that he is a president for all Egyptians''.

    ''No other president before him had the courage to do this in favor of Christians'' said the cleric, stressing that ''Sisi is always interested in churches: when he visits a city that is being built and he is shown a mosque he immediately, spontaneously asks - where is the church?'' An example is ''the new cathedral being built in the new administrative capital'' under construction in eastern Cairo, stressed Mons. Kyrillos.

    Mons. Makarios also replied that the majority of the Coptic community supports Sisi and is voting in the three-day presidential elections.

    Regarding security ahead of the Coptic Easter, which follows the Catholic festivity by a week, the bishop acknowledged that ''they'', Islamic terrorists, ''try to use any occasion to do something'', or an attack.

    ''Something can happen, like in Europe or in America'', warned Makarios, but he stressed that ''the police and the army are doing everything possible to protect us''.

    The bishop said he is touring eight provinces ''to celebrate mass with different communities'' and feels that ''we are quite free to move around'' in spite of the threat posed by ISIS.

    © Copyright ANSA - All rights reserved

    Business opportunities

    The information system of business
    opportunities abroad

    News from Mediterranean