MEDIA RELEASE FROM LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR

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The Coalition learnt with sadness of the death of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, the oldest and largest Christian community of the Middle East.

 

 

His Holiness served as the spiritual leader of the Coptic faithful for over forty years. He was a beloved and respected figure.

His passing will be mourned by Egypt’s eight million Copts and thousands of Copts living in Australia.

The death of His Holiness comes at a time of great stress for Egypt’s Coptic community. The collapse of the Mubarak regime has led to increased violence against the Coptic community.

To highlight the plight of Egypt’s Copts, Australia’s Coptic community held a major prayer vigil in Sydney last October.

As I said on that occasion, democracy means respect for minorities, it does not just mean enforcing the will of majorities. A democracy must be judged not by how effectively it implements the will of the majority but how effectively it protects of the rights of the minority.

On behalf of the Coalition, I extend my deepest condolences to the Coptic Christian community on the death of Pope Shenouda.

19 March 2012

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