Hege Storhaug, HRS
Forfølgelsen av kristne koptere i Egypt har forsert de siste årene, og det er ingen utsikter til at forholdene skal endre seg i tiden som kommer. Det nye – for meg – er forfølgelsen av kristne koptere i sentrale europeiske land som Tyskland og Frankrike. I artikkelen som følge sies det at koptere trues med ”terror” i eksempelvis Tyskland, men hvem som truer med terror nevnes ikke.
«Police are providing extra protection for the building and the congregation,» said Michele Riad, deacon of the 1,000-member Saint Mark church in Frankfurt, having received terror threats.
The church will also get extra protection over the weekend for a memorial service in honor of the 21 Coptic Christians who died when a bomb exploded on New Year’s Day in a Church in Alexandria, Egypt.
On Tuesday Coptic Christians in Egypt clashed with police for a third day in a row. The unrest erupted as police in Egypt went on high alert as investigators hunted the perpetrators of the church bombing.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has meanwhile condemned Saturday’s attack in a letter to Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak, saying she felt «horror and revulsion» at the news.
The German Office of Criminal Investigation said that there was a general threat on the internet against Coptic Churches, including those in Germany.
«It’s really important that the persecution of Christian minorities gets onto the agenda at international conferences, like the UN,» Johannes Singhamme, vice chairman of the ruling Christian Democrat party in Germany.
Around 6,000 Coptic Christians live in communities in Frankfurt, Munich, Bitburg and Hanover in Germany. Their bishop, Anba Damian has reported several threats. He told the radio station Bayerischer Rundfunk that there was a plan circulating on the internet to target Copts on the night of January 7, which is the climax of Christmas celebrations for Orthodox Christians.
Threats against Copts have also been reported in France, where around 45,000 Coptic Christians live.
«We are taking the treat very seriously,» a senior Parisian police officer told Le Figaro newspaper.
The Austrian interior minter, Rudolf Gollia, has spoken of a «death list» containing the names of 150 Copts from different countries, which was published before the attack in Egypt on the internet website for the terror organization «Islamic State of Iraq».