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Egyptian Copts to protest against ‘Islam insult’ film

Egyptian Copts react while they gather to pay their final respects during the funeral of Pope Shenouda III at the Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, March 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

CAIRO: Coptic activists in Egypt called for a vigil Wednesday in protest against a film deemed offensive to Islam that sparked violence outside U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya, they said in a statement.

The Maspero Youth Union and the Coalition of Coptic Egypt condemned “all sorts of contempt or disdain against any religion, as well as to the sowing of sedition between people who embrace different religions,” the statement said.

The MYU said it would be holding a vigil Wednesday night in front of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo in protest against the film.

The film at the center of the controversy, which sparked the attack in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi that left one U.S. State Department employee dead, was made by an Israeli-American, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In Egypt, however, the perception in the media inflamed by fundamentalist Muslim preachers on satellite channels is that the film was made by Egyptian Copts living in the U.S.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the MYU said that “the Copts who took part in the production of the film in question are not representative of mainstream Coptic patriotism ... these Copts neither represent Christianity nor the church, nor the Copts of the diaspora.”

Father Hani Bakhoum, secretary of the Patriarch of the Coptic Catholic Church Anba Antonius Nagib, told the weekly Al-Watani newspaper that members of the Patriarchs and Bishops Council of the Catholic Church totally denounce all forms of disdain to religious symbols.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 13, 2012, on page 9.

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