Monday, May 01, 2017

POP FRANCIS - Message to Egypt While on Visit

"Pope Francis brings message of peace to Egypt as Christians face violence" PBS NewsHour 4/28/2017


SUMMARY:  Security was on high alert across Cairo as Pope Francis arrived for meetings with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and the leader of Egypt's Coptic Christians and a peace conference for Christians and Muslims.  Just three weeks ago, 45 people died when the Islamic State militant group bombed churches on Palm Sunday.  Hari Sreenivasan talks to Tarek Masoud of Harvard University.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  It is the first papal trip to Egypt since Pope John Paul II in 2000.  Pope Francis' visit to Cairo today comes at a time when Egypt's Christians are under attack, and the so-called Islamic State is emboldened.

Hari Sreenivasan has our story.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  Pope Francis received a red carpet welcome, but security was on high alert across the Egyptian capital.  Still, he insisted on driving to the presidential palace in a simple unarmored blue Fiat.

WOMAN:  He is trying to prove to the world that Egypt is still safe, no matter what terrorism is trying to do in our country.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Just three weeks ago, 45 people died when the Islamic State bombed Christian churches in two Egyptian cities on Palm Sunday.  And, in December, an ISIS suicide bomber killed 25 people at Cairo's main Coptic Christian cathedral.

In a video message before his arrival, Francis called for unity and tolerance.

POPE FRANCIS, Leader of Catholic Church (through interpreter):  I hope that this visit will be an embrace of consolation and of encouragement to all Christians in the Middle East, a message of fraternity and reconciliation to all children of Abraham, particularly in the Islamic world.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  The pontiff's first stop was a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.  The former general came to power after a 2013 coup that ousted Mohammed Morsi and banned the Muslim Brotherhood.  Francis also took part in a peace conference to bring Muslims and Christians together.

POPE FRANCIS (through interpreter):  To counter effectively the barbarity of those who foment hatred and violence, we need to accompany young people, respond to the incendiary logic of evil by patiently working for the growth of goodness.

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