Belfast Telegraph

Moderator McNeely condemns Islamic State's brutal attack in Egypt

By Alf McCreary

Presbyterian Moderator Dr Noble McNeely - who recently returned from a church visit to Cairo - has condemned the Islamic State attack in Egypt which left more than 300 people dead.

The victims were killed on Friday by militants during a gun and bomb attack while they were at prayer at a Sufi Mosque in North Sinai.

Dr McNeely said: "I condemn violence from every quarter, and these people were human beings like the rest of us. My sympathies go out to their families.

"On the previous Friday I attended a large gathering of Coptic Christians and representatives from many of the reformed churches in Europe and parts of the Middle East and I was aware of how vulnerable large groups of worshippers are."

Dr McNeely said that despite murderous attacks by Islamist extremists on Coptic Christians, he had felt safe during his visit.

"The main sign of security for us was when an armed policeman accompanied us to church on Sunday morning.

"The church members in Cairo feel relatively safe because of government security, but it is those in the rural areas who feel most vulnerable."

Dr McNeely was the only representative of the reformed church in the Britain to visit Egypt to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

While there, he met the Coptic Church Patriarch and members of the Egyptian government. He was among 60 delegates from Christian churches in Europe, Palestine and Lebanon.

The visit was hosted by the Protestant churches of Egypt. Dr McNeely said that he had received a message from the President of the Protestant churches, following the attack.

During a sermon at Whitehouse Presbyterian Church to mark its 150th anniversary, the Moderator stressed the importance of people acting as disciples of Christ in a secular society.

Speaking later, he called for politicians north and south to work together to maintain stability.

"I would call on politicians in the Irish Republic to try to avoid a snap election at this time when stability is needed, especially when major decisions have to be made about Brexit.

"I would also call on politicians in Northern Ireland to work together and to make the Assembly work. People on all sides are frustrated by the lack of political progress."

Belfast Telegraph


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