Coptic Church attacked in Libya's Benghazi: ministry


Coptic Christians attend a service in the Church of St Barbera on May 27, 2011 in Coptic Cairo, Egypt. Copts have found themselves at the center of an international crisis after a video made by an American Coptic Christian ignited violent protests across the Muslim world.


Peter Macdlarmid

Libya's foreign ministry on Sunday expressed concern over an attack on a Coptic Christian church in the eastern city of Benghazi late last week, according to Reuters, citing the country's LANA news agency. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation's Sunday statement "strongly condemned Thursday's attack on the Egyptian church ... and the aggression towards Father Paul Isaac and his assistant by the irresponsible armed men," Reuters said, quoting LANA coverage.

It went on to state that such violence is “contrary to the teachings of our Islamic faith and customs and as well as international covenants on human rights and fundamental freedoms and respect for the monotheistic religions," according to the Libyan Herald

The government has established a committee to look into the incident, reported Reuters

The Thursday attack reportedly came at a delicate diplomatic moment for Libya. Last week, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Mohammed Amr Kamel, personally intervened after Copts were arrested on charges of proselytizing for the Christian faith, reported the Libyan Herald.

Reuters said four people were detained in Benghazi on similar charges last month.

The treatment of Libya's small Christian community has come under question following the ousting of longtime leader Muammar Qaddafi two years ago.