Egypt’s Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II slammed Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi over his response to recent attacks against Christians in Egypt.
Four Christians were killed in sectarian clashes north of Cairo over the weekend. Violence then broke out during the funeral service of the four Christians at Cairo’s St. Mark’s Cathedral, when mourners were attacked by a crowd after leaving services, one Muslim and one Christian were killed and another 89 were injured, according to AFP.
“Inside the cathedral we chanted ‘Down with the Brotherhood rule’ and that was aired live on television. At the exit (of the cathedral), the people were ready and waiting for us,” Coptic Christian Hani Sobhi told AFP.
Following the incident, during an interview with the Egyptian TV station ONTV, Tawadros said that the Egyptian state was “collapsing” and described the weekend’s attacks on Christians in central Cairo, as “breaching all the red lines,” the Associated Press reported.
“Egypt’s laws must be adequate to deal with the situation. This is a society that is collapsing. Society is collapsing every day,” Tawadros said.
Tawadros added in the interview that Morsi also did nothing to protect the cathedral, one of Coptic Christianity’s holiest.
The latest violence underscores the growing Muslim-Christian tension in Egypt since the 2011 revolution that overthrew the government of secular president Hosni Mubarak.
Morsi, an Islamist, has condemned the weekend’s violence and said he considered an attack on the cathedral to be an attack on him personally.
In a statement issued after Tawadros’s remarks, Morsi said that the presidency will “will not allow any attempts to divide the nation, incite sedition, or drive a wedge among Egyptians under any pretense.”
Since being elevated to the Egyptian Papacy late last year, Tawadros has taken a more outspoken approach in speaking out against persecution of Christians in his native Egypt than his long-time predecessor Pope Shenouda III.
“The church has been a national symbol for 2,000 years,” Tawadros said, the Associated Press reported. “It has not been subjected to anything like this even during the darkest ages… There has been no positive and clear action from the state, but there is a God. The church does not ask for anyone’s protection, only from God.”