OXFORD, England — A spokesman for Egypt's Catholic Church praised local Muslims for helping embattled Christians after a series of Islamic State attacks in Sinai.
Father Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Coptic Catholic Church, said Christians must differentiate between ordinary Muslims and extremists.
"Ordinary Muslims are kind and try to help however they can — they're often first on the scene, rescuing the injured and taking them to hospitals," he said March 3, as Christians continued to flee Egypt's North Sinai region.
VATICAN CITY -- The 21 Coptic Christians who were beheaded by Islamic State militants died as martyrs, invoking the name of Jesus, said an Egyptian Catholic bishop.
At the end of his weekly audience Feb. 18, Pope Francis called for prayers for the Egyptian Christians beheaded by Islamic State militants in Libya and asked that God recognize these men killed for their faith.
With pain, but also with hope, the Catholic Church in Egypt is following what our country is experiencing: terrorist attacks, killings and the burning of churches, schools and state institutions. Therefore, out of love for our country and in solidarity with all lovers of Egypt, Christians and Muslims, we are trying to do our best to communicate with friendly organizations around the world to clarify for them the reality of events taking place in our country. We would like to express the following:
CAIRO -- Attacks on Christian churches and institutions in Egypt appeared to be the result of Islamist extremists' anger over what they perceived as Christian support for the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi.
In mid-August, three days after the military crackdown on Morsi supporters, Egypt's Catholic Church published a list of 58 destroyed or damaged Christian churches, as well as a commentary by the country's leading Jesuit criticizing the West's characterization of "poor persecuted Muslims."
VATICAN CITY -- Speaking on behalf of Catholics in Egypt, Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sedrak said the violence and unrest in his country are "not a political struggle between different factions, but a war against terrorism."
In an Aug. 18 statement, the patriarch said the country's Catholics strongly support "all state institutions, particularly the armed forces and the police for all their efforts in protecting our homeland."