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Archbishop visits Egypt to offer condolence for murdered Christians

Archbishop Justin Welby with Pope Tawadros II in Cairo, 25 June 2013.

Monday 20th April 2015

The Archbishop of Canterbury has visited Egypt to offer condolence following the murder of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya.

Archbishop Justin Welby travelled to the country on Saturday to express condolence and solidarity in meetings with religious and political leaders.

The 21 kidnapped migrant workers, all Coptic Christians, were beheaded by Islamic State militants in February.

During the two-day visit the Archbishop met with the head of the Coptic Church, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar. He also met with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. On Sunday evening he preached at a joint Egyptian-Sudanese Eucharist service at All Saints Cathedral in Cairo.

Listen: Archbishop Justin Welby speaks to the BBC about Christians in the Middle East 

The Archbishop was hosted by Bishop Mouneer Anis, Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, and the Primate of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

Speaking to the BBC during the visit, the Archbishop said: ''I believe Islamic State is deeply evil - even to its own supporters.” “Simply to turn our backs on people in such struggle and suffering is totally unacceptable. Equally, to say the simple solution is that ‘you will leave that area and come to our place…’ – we all know that that is, again, an invitation to ethnic cleansing on a grand scale.”

During the interview the Archbishop also spoke of the "appalling news" that 700 people are feared dead after a boat carrying migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea.

He said that Europe "cannot be uncaring" and must exercise "love and generosity" towards migrants fleeing desperate situations. 

"We need to share the burden. Of course, we have to be aware of the impact of immigration on our own communities. But when people are drowning in the Mediterranean, the need, the misery that has driven them out of their own countries, is so extreme, so appalling, that Europe as a whole must rise up and seek to do what is right."

In his Easter sermon the Archbishop highlighted the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Africa, including the 148 people killed in an attack on a Kenyan university earlier this month.


You can follow the Archbishop of Canterbury on Twitter @JustinWelby and find him on Facebook


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