The head of Egypt's Coptic church has strongly condemned the country's Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, for failing to deal properly with last weekend's sectarian violence that ended with six Christians being killed and the country's largest cathedral besieged by police and armed civilians.
In an outburst unusual for its tone and directness, Pope Tawadros II called a live current affairs programme on Monday night to criticise what he sees as Morsi's negligence. On Sunday, Morsi had claimed that any attack on the cathedral was an attack on him personally and telephoned Tawadros to promise to do everything he could to protect it.
"But in reality he did not," said the pope, arguing that Morsi's action "comes under the category of negligence". Police continued to fire teargas into the cathedral precinct after Morsi's phone call – though it is unclear how much control Morsi exerts over security services.
Tawadros also criticised Morsi's decision on Monday to revive a body aimed at promoting religious equality, seeing it as a meaningless gesture. "We want action not words," he said, adding that such committees would not stem an alarming rise in sectarianism.
Patrick Kingsley / The Guardian