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Bishop says Egyptians running out of food because they fear going out
Catholic News Service


VATICAN CITY — A Catholic bishop in Luxor, about 400 miles south of Cairo, said Muslims and Christians are afraid to leave their homes; because the shops are closed and no one is venturing outside, many are running out of food.

Coptic Catholic Bishop Youhannes Zakaria of Luxor told Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, "I'm crying for all these simple people -- Muslims and Christians -- who live in the villages nearby and don't have anything because their food supplies are running out and people are afraid to leave their homes."

"Even those who are well off can't buy food because all the shops are closed," he told Fides Aug. 20. "I'd like to go help them myself, but I can't because I'm also forced to stay inside."

After Egyptian police and the military broke up camps of demonstrators protesting the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, more demonstrations took place Aug. 16, including in Luxor.

"After being chased from the center of Luxor, the pro-Morsi demonstrators arrived under my residence shouting, 'Death to the Christians.' Fortunately, the police arrived in time to save us. Now the police and the army have two armored vehicles parked here," Bishop Zakaria said.

While the death and destruction in Luxor hasn't been as bad as in other parts of Egypt, the bishop said the homes of some Christians have been burned and it seems prudent for people not to go out if possible.

"For security reasons," he said, they have canceled the Aug. 22 celebrations of the Dormition of Mary, the Eastern equivalent of the feast of the Assumption.

The bishop said the Muslim Brotherhood is going after Christians because "they think Christians are the cause of Morsi's fall. It's true that Christians participated in the demonstrations against Morsi, but 30 million Egyptians -- most of them Muslims -- took to the streets against the deposed president," he said.

"By attacking Christians, they want to throw Egypt into chaos," Bishop Zakaria said.



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