EGYPT has recalled its ambassador to the Vatican in protest after Pope Benedict XVI urged the governments of several Muslim nations including Egypt to ensure that their Christian minorities are able to practice their faith without discrimination or violence.
In a statement, foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said: “Egypt has asked its ambassador in the Vatican to come to Cairo for consultation after the Vatican’s new statements that touch on Egyptian affairs, and which Egypt considers an unacceptable interference in its internal affairs.”
Egypt’s reaction came a day after the pope cited attacks on Christians in that country besides Iraq and Nigeria in a speech. He had also urged those nations to take more steps to protect their Christian minority.
The string of attacks carried out against Christians in these countries, the pope said, showed “the urgent need for the governments of the region to adopt, in spite of difficulties and dangers, effective measures for the protection of religious minorities.”
Egypt’s Coptic Christians account for 10 percent of the country’s 80 million people.
Quoting a study conducted by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Washington Post said between 2008 and 2010 as many as 52 anti-Christian incidents were reported. However, no one was punished in any of the crimes.
Church building and conversion are said to be two points of conflict between Muslims and Christians.