14 July 2017

Egypt: Churches Suspend Pilgrimages, Trips Due to Fear of Attacks

Cairo — Egyptian Coptic, Catholic and Anglican Churches have suspended pilgrimages, holidays and conferences due to fear of terror attacks, Fr Hani Bakhoum Kiroulos, Secretary General of the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria has said.

Fr Hani said that the decision to suspend activities was taken following government security agencies warning on possible attacks on churches in the coming months.

"The church has decided to suspend all trips and conferences at present to give security agencies the chance to carry out their duties without distractions for the remainder of July and August after they warned us about possible attacks by Islamic militants," he told the Egyptian Christian Online News Service on July 13.

He said that the warning was delivered to church representatives during a meeting on July 10 with top army and security commanders in the southern city of Assiut.

Churches across Egypt organize weekend pilgrimages to monasteries and ancient churches that attract millions of Christians across the county and abroad. The churches also organize beach holidays for the faithful.

The Anglican Church, in a letter dated July 13, signed by Reverent Mohsen Naeeem cancels a July 17-21 beach trip to the Red Sea resort of Hurghada for the faithful, saying the decision was taken "for your safety."

"Let us all unite in prayers for the security and stability of our country," read the statement in part.

The militants have killed more than 100 people and displaced thousands in four separate attacks targeting churches since December 2016.

Egypt's Christians account for about 10 percent of the country's 93 million people.


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