Saturday, December 31, 2011

Egypt Islamic Party to Protect Churches

Egypt Islamic party to protect churches

Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:21PM GMT

A Coptic Christian church in Egypt (file photo)
Egypt's largest Islamic group has vowed to protect churches during celebrations of Christmas in a gesture of reassurance to the country's Christian minority.

The influential Muslim Brotherhood said on Thursday that it would form human shields to protect the Coptic Orthodox Christians at Christmas.

“We have decided to form Muslim Brotherhood committees to protect the churches so that the hands of sin do not ruin the festivities like they did several times under the old regime,” the group said in a statement.

It also urged the ruling military council, which took power following a popular revolution toppled Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak in February, to help secure the churches.

"We call on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the police to protect the churches in the same way they protected polling stations during the elections," the party said.

The remarks come after the Muslim Brotherhood made unprecedented gains in the first two rounds of Egypt's parliamentary elections, the first general elections since Mubarak's ouster.

Last January, 23 people were killed when a car bomb exploded outside a church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria.

Egypt's Christians accused the Mubarak regime of not providing enough security for them and their places of worship.

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