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Egypt's Copts have no plans to arm youth groups

Before the news was shown to be false, jumpy Egyptians were unnerved by a report about Christian youth groups receiving military training to protect their churches.
The aftermath of an explosion that took place at a Coptic church on Sunday in Tanta, Egypt, April 9, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany - RTX34UA2

CAIRO — Despite a recent news report, the Coptic Church of Egypt has no intention of arming or training its parishioners to fight, according to Bishop Anba Makarios, the top Coptic Orthodox cleric in Minya governorate.

Terrorist attacks on St. Mark Church in Alexandria, St. George Church in Tanta and St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Cairo have led to widespread fears of recurring violence. In a society highly sensitive to the dangers posed by militias, controversy flared after Al-Dostor reported June 20, “Well-informed church sources revealed that the Egyptian Interior Ministry denied a request from Coptic Church leaders to provide church scouts with military training and training on carrying weapons following the attacks on Copts in Minya last month.”

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