GIZA, Egypt — Egypt’s Christians were worried about their safety on
Monday as they marked the first Christmas under Islamist rule, with
Coptic Pope Tawadros II urging worshipers “not to be afraid” and some
complaining that their lives had gone from bad to worse in the nearly
two years since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
At St. Mary’s Church in the dense and religiously mixed
neighborhood of Imbaba, where sectarian clashes have flared before,
midnight Mass on Christmas Eve started early because of safety concerns.
The church, which was torched by an Islamist mob in 2011, was protected
Sunday by a larger police presence than in past years, a signal to some
that the Islamist government wanted to avoid trouble after political
clashes flared last month on Egypt’s streets.
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