The Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of Minya has announced it will celebrate Easter without the typical festive accoutrements.
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‘I pray for the dead and the injured, and I am close in spirit to the family members and to the entire community,’ the Holy Father said.
‘Innocent women and children who decided to worship their God in their spiritual home had their lives needlessly and senselessly ended without warning.’
Although Copts — Egypt’s ethnic Christian group — have been bullied under previous regimes, the persecution there has recently become more personal, said a Middle-East specialist on religious freedom.
Egyptian society and its government have rallied in defense of the Copts, but the White House has declined to support Egypt’s military actions in defense of its citizens.
Jewish and Christian voices in the Middle East denounced the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Copts.