Coptic (Christian) Bishop: ISIS Targets Us in Egypt to Divide Christians and Muslims

HG_Bishop_AngaelosBishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox bishop and advocate for religious freedom, said Christians everywhere offer the world a response that reflects the Christlike witness of their brothers and sisters in Egypt.

LONDON — More than 40 Christians in Egypt, known as Copts, have been deliberately slaughtered for the faith in the past three months alone by militants aligned with the Islamic State terror group, which has been waging a brutal five-year war against Egypt’s forces in the Sinai Peninsula.

As ISIS’ self-proclaimed “caliphate” collapses in Syria and Iraq, it has whipped up its supporters in Sinai to persecute Coptic Christians, their “favorite prey,” forcing many to flee their ancestral homeland, where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and the Holy Family fled, seeking refuge from the terror of Herod the Great.

Egypt’s government has called for national solidarity and condemned these attacks on its Christians. In December, President Fattah el-Sisi and Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II walked together in a state military funeral procession ordered for 29 Copts, mainly women and children, brutally murdered by a suicide bomber at St. Peter’s Church in Cairo.

Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church of the United Kingdom and a spokesman for the Coptic Orthodox Church, as well as an advocate for religious freedom, told the Register in an interview that Egypt’s Christians need the solidarity of their fellow Christians around the world.

He explained Christians elsewhere also need to honor and embrace the Christlike witness of Egypt’s Christians in the face of these terrorist attacks, which are aimed at destroying Christian-Muslim cohesion, and pray for the conversion of their persecutors.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER 

Christians And Jews Team Up To Help Muslims After Texas Mosque Fire

mosqueChristians and Jews in a small Texas town reached out to help their Muslim neighbors after a fire destroyed a local mosque.

“Jewish community members walked into my home and gave me a key to the synagogue,” Dr. Shahid Hashmi, a cofounder of the Victoria Islamic Center, told The New York Times.

In addition, at least four churches offered space for the Muslims to hold their services.

Victoria is a small city about 125 miles southwest of Houston with a population of about 65,000.

Everyone knows everybody,” Robert Loeb, the president of the town’s Temple B’Nai Israel, told Forward. “I know several members of the mosque, and we felt for them.”

On Wednesday, children from a local Catholic school marched to the mosque to form what the Islamic Center called “a human chain of love and peace.”

They are literally our neighbors,” Gretchen Boyle, an English teacher at St. Joseph High School, told the Victoria Advocate. “We are responding to the call, ‘Love thy neighbor.’”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST 

The biggest divide between African Muslims and Christians isn’t their religion

rtx143iw-e1483956070345In many countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Muslim and Christian communities coexist side by side. But a huge gap exists between them when it comes to educational attainment, with African Christians more than twice as likely to have formal schooling than their Muslim counterparts, a Pew Research Center study shows.

The study, which looked at the number of years of schooling both groups received based on age and gender, showed that 65% of Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa had no formal education—the highest anywhere in the world. By contrast, 30% of Christians in the region had not enrolled or completed any form or level of schooling.

The Pew findings drew on census and survey data from 151 countries—36 from sub-Saharan Africa—and analyzed educational levels among believers of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and the religiously unaffiliated. In 18 out of 27 countries with substantial Christian and Muslim populations in the region, Muslims trailed Christians by at least 10 percentage points. Nine countries had education data on Muslims only (Comoros, Gambia, Niger and Somalia) or Christians only (Cape Verde, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe).

Christianity and Islam are the two dominant religions in sub-Saharan Africa, together accounting for more than 93% of the population. Given the dropping child mortality and high fertility rates in the region, much of the worldwide growth of Islam and Christianity is expected to take place there in the coming decades. By 2050, for instance, four out of every 10 Christians in the world will live in sub-Saharan Africa.

FULL ARTICLE FROM QUARTZ 

Muslims And Christians Unite To Win Backing For New Jersey Mosque

computer-rendered-plans-for-the-4250-square-foot-islamic-mosqueMuslims have won a lawsuit granting them the right to build a mosque in a town in New Jersey.

Unusually, they had the backing of influential evangelical Christians including Southern Baptists.

District Judge Michael A Shipp ruled in favour of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge and against the township of Bernards, The Christian Post reports.

Planners in Bernards rejected the mosque application in 2015.

Judge Shipp ruled this to be a violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act which codifies some “narrow” exceptions such as a nondiscrimination provision.

Shipp said the planning refusal constituted “impermissible discrimination on the basis of religion”.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIAN TODAY

 

 

Muslims and Christians team up to help homeless

muslims-and-christiansFaith groups are working together to care for street sleepers and other vulnerable people in the run-up to Christmas.

Muslim and Christian groups in Britain are joining forces to help the country’s homeless and other vulnerable groups during the Christmas period.

Organisations including Muslim Aid, the Al-Khair Foundation, Streetlytes, and churches across the English capital of London are expanding their efforts by providing meals and shelter packs to rough sleepers.

Their aim is to make sure those most in need are protected from cold weather and hunger during the holidays when many shops and services are closed or operating at reduced capacity.

More than 100 homeless people attended a Christmas dinner event organised by the groups at the Church of St Stephen and St Thomas in Shepherd’s Bush, west London.


READ MORE: UK families open doors to refugees


Alongside the seasonal staple of Turkey, volunteers dished out servings of South Asian dishes such as biryani.

“As Muslims, Islam teaches us that we can’t go to bed on a full stomach while our neighbour goes hungry,” said the Al-Khair Foundation’s Syed Hussain, as he managed a stall stacked with containers full of food.

“We’re working with people of all different backgrounds to show that Muslims care and we want to solve the problems facing everyone, not just our own.”

Streetlytes volunteer Chris Hatch, a Presbyterian priest, explained that while many of those working to help the homeless were religious, the project was not “inherently faith-based”.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL JAZEERA 

Christians And Muslims Play Football To Combat Extremism

kashif-siddiqui-with-pope-francis-in-romeChristians and Muslims are working together for peace – through the medium of football, a British Muslim told a United Nations meeting in Istanbul.

British Pakistani professional footballer Kashif Siddiqi, co-founder of Football for Peace, told the United Nations Alliance of Civilisation how young footballers could be valuable in countering violent extremism among youth.

He was joined by Dutch footballer Wesley Sneijder, who plays for Turkish club Galatasaray and was named as one of the three best midfielders in the world by FIFA in 2010, as well as Turkish International player Oğuzhan Özyakup.

Siddiqi was in Istanbul after addressing a conference in Rome last week.

“Football is the one universal language that evaporates language, cultural and religious barriers the world over,” said Siddiqi. “It is fundamentally the greatest way to diffuse tensions and turn down the heat between competing factions.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIAN TODAY 

 

Christian And Muslim Leaders: Religion Is The Solution To Terrorism, Not The Problem

grand-imam-dr-ahmad-al-tayyebChristian and Muslim leaders have united to condemn religious extremism and promote the importance of interfaith dialogue.

A two-day meeting between the Muslim Council of Elders (MCE) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) last week focused on the vitality of working for peace and countering violence, especially that which is committed in the name of God.

“Religion came to establish peace between people and lift the injustice of the oppressed as well as to emphasise the sanctity of human blood,” said Grand Imam Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb, chairman of the MCE.

He added it is a cause of sadness that religions are considered responsible for the rise of terror.

“Terrorism, which blames religions, mainly Islam, does not differentiate while promoting its acts,” he continued.

No difference is made between religious and atheist, or between a Muslim and non-Muslim. At a quick glance at the victims of terrorism, it is confirmed that Muslims themselves are more than paying the price of this terrorism with their blood.”

Al-Tayyeb said it was vital that faith leaders do more than simply condemn acts of violence and terror.

“That is like working on separate islands, which results in weak targets, with no concrete and influential impact on the ground,” he said. “However, a joint action must be coordinated to confront the phenomenon and working on the proposed solutions to intellectually, scientifically, socially and educationally confront that phenomenon.”

Bishop Angaelos, general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, agreed that working together is critical.

“Developments over the last years are greater than any individual, church, religion or even state can fix alone,” he said. “There must be a new form of dialogue that changes the narrative from helplessness and conflict to the one of hope and promise.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIAN TODAY 

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