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Coptic Pope's Jerusalem visit sparks backlash in Egypt

The Coptic Church confirmed that its position regarding the ban on Copts visiting Jerusalem is unchanged, despite the travel of Pope Tawadros II to the city to attend the funeral of Bishop Anba Abraham.
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The visit by the head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, to Jerusalem on Nov. 26 to preside over the funeral prayer of the late bishop of Jerusalem, Anba Abraham, sparked controversy among Coptic and political circles, with some arguing that the visit runs contrary to an existing ban issued by the church itself.

Several political parties issued statements denouncing Tawadros’ trip. In a statement released Nov. 26, the left-wing Nasserist Dignity Party described the visit as “a deep crack in the wall of resistance to normalization” with Israel. Meanwhile, Younes Makhioun, head of the Salafist Nour Party, posted a statement to his official Facebook page Nov. 28 in which he described the visit as an encroachment on patriotism for all Egyptians — be they Muslim or Coptic — since the church and the Copts are part of the Egyptian national fabric.

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