Press Release For immediate use 19 March 2014
Coptic Orthodox Church UK Media and Communications Office
Coptic Orthodox Church (Europe) Media and Communications Office
On 17 March 2014 His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom delivered an address at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, arranged by the Conservative Party’s Middle East and North Africa Group (MENA) regarding the current situation in Egypt since the 2011 uprising. Addressing an audience comprised of specialists, analysts and enthusiasts with an interest in Egypt and the wider Middle East, Bishop Angaelos highlighted the resilient nature of Egypt’s citizens, and the challenges faced in light of the recent uprisings. Speaking of proactive steps towards reconciliation and rebuilding Egypt, he said: “Reconciliation must happen through pragmatic and intentional leadership, bringing people together. These efforts will then instil a sense of unity, cohesion and national identity so that people no longer focus on one’s religion, but see the Egyptian in the other...It is only then that we can begin to advocate for one another.” Addressing the misconception that issues in Egypt arise primarily due to a Muslim Christian divide, he said: “This is about advocating for all; about unity, individual identity, and the importance of that individual as a member of a nation state.” Raising awareness to the impact of the recent uprisings on Christian and minority communities in Egypt, as well as the state of polarisation affecting the nation, Bishop Angaelos highlighted the increasing levels of poverty and illiteracy, the decline in foreign investment and tourism, the increasing levels of harassment against women, and increasing unemployment. He went on to provide his optimistic outlook for Egypt and the way ahead however, saying: “On the 30 June when people took to the streets, they were Christian and Muslim, secular and religious, man and woman, young and old; the whole of society…There is only one way ahead and that is reconciliation, there is no other way. People must live side by side and there must be healing.” During the course of his address Bishop Angaelos also said: “We are all held in the hands of a God Who is much more mighty than anyone who tries to create harm….We are confident, through His graciousness, love and vigilance over His whole creation, that God has a solution for Egypt.” Among those in attendance were the Chairman and Officers of the MENA Group, Parliamentary Member Mark Field and other representatives of the Conservative Party.