Some people might think that ongoing Anti Semitism in Egypt is a phenomena that is restricted to Muslims. That is not really the case. Statements by Muslim religious leaders have been covered by the press, but little attention has been given to the Coptic Church, which has had its share of Anti Semitism.
Christian books are filled with Anti Semitic remarks and stories especially the “Sineksar”, the official Church book of Saints in which you can find stories that include Blood Libel.
Pope Shenouda II, the leader of the Coptic Church has made statements in the past that included many Anti Semitic views. In an interview on the Egyptian Television on the 8th of April 2007 he said: “the Western Churches were wrong to exonerate Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and criticized recent statements apologizing for Christian anti-Semitism.”
“Asked whether Jews were “Christ-killers”, responsible for the crucifixion, Shenouda stated, “The New Testament says that they are,” and asked rhetorically whether the Vatican was “against the teachings of the New Testament?”
He further added a hilarious statement on why he had banned Christians from going to pilgrimage to Jerusalem by saying: “Shenouda stated he had banned Copts from visiting Israel for fear they will “be influenced by the Israeli media, and we will not be able to prevent this. Who knows what ideas they will return with?”
Pope Shenouda is not the only Coptic Church leader that holds Anti Semitic views. Father Morcos Aziz Khalil in a recent article in Nahdet Masr Newspaper devoted his entire time to bashing the Jews. He said: “The Jews saw that the Church is their No. 1 Enemy and that without Priesthood the Church looses its most important component, thus the Masonic Movement was the secret Zionist hand to create revolution against the clergy. The Zionist Ideology has kept its conspiracies a secret buried in silence.”
He then added that the Zionist Movement has tried to work in Egypt through Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Seventh Day Adventists and that those organizations are merely a cover that has American Zionists behind it.”
A new element was added to this ongoing smear and hatred campaign after the decision by the Catholic Church to change a Prayer that was insulting to Jews. While Bishop Morcos dismissed the matter as an internal issue inside the Catholic Church and that the Catholic Church is free to change its internal rituals, Father Salib Matta Sawires was quick to express his disapproval. He said: “For us the fact remains that the Jews will be responsible for Christ’s blood as they themselves said in the Bible unless they convert to Christianity.”
It is of course a waste of time to argue with minds like these that believe that the Jews living after 2000 years after the crucifixion are responsible for that. More hilariously sad is the reason the Pope gave for banning pilgrimage. Fear of Israeli media influence!
While an explanation can be found in the Church’s attempt to position itself as patriotic as the rest of the country, it is sad that Christians that face an ongoing hate campaign and discrimination would show the same to others.