KUWAIT: Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II yesterday condemned attacks on two Coptic churches on Palm Sunday in Egypt, adding “terrorism will end soon.” Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Tawadros affirmed that terrorism in Egypt will not break the strong bond between Muslims and Christians that has persevered for more than 14 centuries. “I had been longing to visit Kuwait, which I knew through Al-Arabi magazine, and I was obsessed with the knowledge and research here,” he said.
About his first impression of Kuwait, Tawadros said: “I was amazed by the kindness of the Amir, officials and people of Kuwait. I know there are people from more than 100 nationalities living in Kuwait in harmony,” noting Kuwait is fighting terrorism with culture, especially the beautiful Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre that he visited lately.
He revealed that the ministry of education in Egypt is working on a new curriculum to teach in schools that promotes tolerance and affection between religions, and offers a mix of values of Islam and Christianity. “We are preparing to receive Pope Francis, who is coming to Egypt soon. Pope Francis will come to promote peace after we invited him to visit Egypt,” Tawadros said.
He stressed the role of worship places in teaching people the right values of religion, because terrorists are not only distorting the image of Islam or affecting Christians, but also sabotaging their own people’s lives. “Christianity and Islam complete each other,” he explained.
Earlier, the pope inaugurated the Coptic Orthodox Church in Hawally, one of the largest Egyptian churches in the GCC, and prayed amidst large crowds of the people and in the presence of representatives of the Christian communities in Kuwait. Security measures were tight.
Tawadros said the Egyptian church in Kuwait was the first church to be built and start services outside Egypt in 1961, thanking officials “in this good and tolerant land and the people of Kuwait”. He also thanked the efforts of his predecessor Pope Shenouda. Tawadros arrived in Kuwait for four-day visit on Sunday at the invitation of HH the Amir, marking the first such visit to the state by a Coptic Orthodox patriarch.
By Faten Omar, Staff Writer