Egypt bombing: Pope urges leaders to defend Christians

Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday urged world leaders to defend Christians against abuse and intolerance.

Last Updated: Jan 01, 2011, 20:13 PM IST

Vatican City: Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday urged world leaders to defend Christians against abuse and intolerance after a New Year`s day bomb attack in a Coptic church in Egypt claimed 21 lives.

In the wake of mounting tensions and "especially discrimination, abuse and religious intolerance which are today striking Christians in particular, I once again launch a pressing appeal not to give in to discouragement and resignation," he said, speaking at the New Year mass.

He appealed for the "concrete and constant engagement
of leaders of nations," in what he termed a "difficult
mission."

The pontiff underscored that "humanity cannot display
resignation in the face of negative forces of selfishness and
violence, it cannot get accustomed to conflicts which claim
victims and endanger the future of people."

The attack in Alexandria also wounded 43 people.

Although there were no immediate claims of
responsibility for the attack, the bombing came two months
after gunmen stormed a Baghdad cathedral and took the
worshippers hostage.

In a raid to free them, 44 worshippers, two priests
and seven security forces were killed.

That attack was claimed by al Qaeda affiliate, the
Islamic State of Iraq, which said its purpose was to force the
release of the two women in Egypt.

Bureau Report