In response to the attacks on Coptic churches in the Egyptian cities of Tantra and Alexandria on Palm Sunday, the following joint statement in support of the Coptic Christian community was issued by Bishop Mariann and other faith leaders from across the Washington metro area. The statement was also included in letters sent to the area’s coptic churches.
In light of the tragedy that occurred on Palm Sunday in Egypt, we write to express our deepest sympathy for all those whose lives were lost or forever changed due to the Palm Sunday attacks in Egypt. And we lament that the Egyptian Coptic churches were the target of such violence. An attack on one community of faith is an attack on all, and we offer our prayers for God’s mercy and justice.
The disturbing news of another attack on Christians, this time Coptic worshippers in Egypt, calls us together so that we might, through the faith traditions represented in this statement, denounce violence but particularly violence perpetrated in the name of religion.
In this week, called holy by Christians around the world, we join in solidarity in decrying this violent attack.
In the Christian Scriptures there is the image of Simon of Cyrene, whose faith tradition we do not know, but who stepped forward to help Jesus carrying his cross. In that sense we step forward to stand with our Coptic Christian brothers and sisters and with Christians around the world, so that they do not have to carry their cross alone.
In the Islamic tradition, churches are explicitly named in the Qur’an (22:40) as places where the name of God is extolled and are deserving of protection and anyone who attacked a Christian church would be violating Islamic principles.
With sentiments of solidarity,
Cardinal Donald Wuerl
Catholic Archbishop of Washington
The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde
Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Washington
Mr. Rizwan Jaka
Chair, Board & Interfaith/Government/ Media Committee Co-Chair, All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS)
Rev. Dr. G. Wilson Gunn, Jr.
General Presbyter, National Capital Presbytery
Rabbi Gerry Serotta
Executive Director, Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington
Imam Mohamed Magid
Executive Religious Director, All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS)