Coptic Catholic Bishop Youhannes Ezzat Zakaria Badir of Luxor-Tebe in Egypt said that since the outbreak of massive protests in the country, his flock has been praying that “violence gives way to dialogue and that the civil war does not break out in the country.”
Bishop Zakaria spoke on Feb. 3 with the Italian news agency SIR about the protests that have engulfed Egypt after people were inspired by the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia to try and topple their president, Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled for 30 years.
Protestors of the Mubarak regime are upset over high unemployment, soaring food costs and rampant corruption within the ruling class. Demonstrations have been centered in the Egyptian capital of Cairo but are also going on in Alexandria and other parts of the country.
“What is happening in Egypt is the result of the misguided policies of world leaders who have not made choices in the best interest of the future, life, dignity and freedom of mankind,” Bishop Zakaria said.
So many young people have risen up in protest, he said, because “for so many years nobody has thought about them, about their needs and dreams. The protests are a desperate act to make their voices heard.”
“The time has come for political leaders to make an examination of conscience and set aside their personal interests,” the bishop said. “Politics must again be at the service of our country.”
Bishop Zakaria also said he was optimistic about the future of Egypt. The violence of recent days, he added, “is because many under Mubarak who have enjoyed privileges are sending out armed groups against the young people gathered in Tahrir Square.”
“We hope that calm will soon prevail,” he said.