Australian Coptic Christians live in fear after Egyptian church bomb blast

15:26, January 04, 2011      

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Coptic Christians in Australia are in a state of grief and fear following the bomb blast outside a church in Egypt on New Year's Day.

Twenty-two people died after a suicide bomber set off a massive explosion as hundreds of Coptic Christians celebrated a New Year's Eve service in Alexandria's Al-Qiddissin (The Saints) church in Egypt.

Al Qiddissin church in Alexandria was on a list posted by the al Qaeda-linked Shumukh al Islam website of 50 Coptic churches across Egypt.

Coptic churches in several European countries, including France, Germany and Britain, also figured on the list.

The attack has sparked the fears of a religious war in Egypt and Coptic churches in Canada and France are increasing their security measures.

There also have been threats against Coptic churches in Sydney of Australia, and Christmas celebrations due to take place on January 7 have been canceled.

According to Bishop Suriel, Australia's Melbourne Bishop of the Coptic Church, two sisters who are members of his diocese had relatives killed in the blast, and the attack has stunned Copts in Australia and around the globe.

"The whole Coptic community all around the world is just in total shock and dismay and never ever expected anything like this to happen in Egypt," he told ABC News on Tuesday.

"The images that are coming out of Alexandria are just unbearable to see. They even found body parts on the trees outside of the church.

"It was just a massive bomb. It's overwhelming for us right now. "

Bishop Suriel said he has heard that Sydney churches have received threats after the blast, and the Australian Government has not done enough in the wake of the attack in Egypt.

"I don't believe the Australian authorities here are supporting the 80,000 Coptic Christians living in this country," he said.

"(U.S.) President Obama has spoken out against this atrocity, the general secretary of the United Nations, the Pope of Rome, the high commissioner of the European Union, and not one single word from our (Australian) Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, condemning this act of atrocity against these Christians in Egypt."

Source: Xinhua

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