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Pope Francis visits Egypt's embattled Christians

Friday, April 28, 2017 - 01:43

Pope Francis meets Coptic Christians in Egypt just three weeks after twin suicide bombings on churches killed 45 people. He's also meeting Muslim leaders, to promote dialogue and thaw frosty ties. Lucy Fielder reports.

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Pope Francis visiting Egypt on Friday (April 28_ to smooth things over with the Islamic leaders... And to support Christianity in a region where numbers are dwindling. The visit, just three weeks after twin church bombings by Islamist militants killed 45 people - most of them Coptic Christians. He's once again ditching the armoured pope-mobile in favour of an ordinary car that brings him closer to the people. Egyptian authorities, though, are taking no chances... Cairo bristling with security ahead of the papal touch-down; troops and police on streets and around churches. The pontiff will meet Coptic Pope Tawadros II who narrowly escaped the Palm Sunday bombing in Alexandria... As well as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. But all eyes will be on his meetings with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar - Sunni Islam's most influential seat of learning. Egyptian Muslim leaders cut ties with the Vatican after in 2011, accusing the last pope, Benedict, of insulting Islam - though they were restored last year. Still, as the Copts live in fear of the next attack, the Pope's call for dialogue and denunciation of violence in God's name is welcomed to Muslim and Christian leaders alike in Egypt. Both sides condemn Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the church attacks, as well as an earlier Cathedral bombing in December. It says it wants to rid the Middle East of Christians, ancient communities already in decline for decades. Wars in Iraq and Syria, and now Islamic State persecution, turning that trickle to a flood.

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Pope Francis visits Egypt's embattled Christians

Friday, April 28, 2017 - 01:43