Exclusive: Pope Tawadros II warns against ‘emptying’ Middle East of Christians, sees hope in Saudi reforms

1 / 2
Pope Tawadros II talks regional politics, status of Copts and his views on reforms in Saudi Arabia. (AN Photo: Ziyad Alarfaj)
2 / 2
Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas talking with Pope Tawadros II in Cairo. (AN Photo: Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 05 December 2018

Exclusive: Pope Tawadros II warns against ‘emptying’ Middle East of Christians, sees hope in Saudi reforms

  • Coptic pope said recent attacks on Copts are an attack on Egyptian unity
  • Tawadros sees hope in the reforms of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and is looking forward to visiting Saudi Arabia

CAIRO: Coptic Pope Tawadros II warned of the danger of emptying the Middle East of Christians, in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

“This emptying act is against nature,” the pope said, adding that recent attacks on Copts and their places of worship are an attack on Egyptian unity.

“Our regions have been established with the existence of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. What happened in some countries like Syria and Iraq is painful.”

Tawadros spoke about the damage inflicted on the Copts in Egypt during the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule from 2012 to 2013. “The migration of Christians in Egypt resulted from the circumstances that took place,” he said. “Christians feared for their lives and fled the country. When the country regained its stability, a lot of them returned to Egypt. Christian emigration rates have dropped significantly.”

Tawadros, who is looking forward to visiting Saudi Arabia soon at the invitation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said he personally follows the “positive developments” taking place there under his reforms. He said the crown prince’s meetings with religious, political and cultural figures around the world encompass “a lot of hope” are “in the interest of Saudi Arabia and contribute to human development.”

Tawadros visited the Vatican in 2013, the first visit of a Coptic pope in 40 years, and his last trip was in July this year. “It is a good relationship based on friendship and love with Pope Francis,” he said.

“There is a dialogue committee between us and the Vatican that meets annually.”

In the interview, conducted in Cairo and published to mark the crown prince’s tour that included other Arab states and Argentina for the G20 Summit, the pope also shared his views of the region.

Tawadros views Palestine as an “occupied country” and said he hopes a “spirit of understanding prevails” between Israelis and Palestinians so that Jerusalem can be a capital for both states “and peace reigns in the region.”

The interview appears in full tomorrow in the print version of Arab News.


Dubai Police to use smart glasses in public transportation areas for coronavirus

Updated 08 May 2020

Dubai Police to use smart glasses in public transportation areas for coronavirus

  • Called Rokid T1, the smart glasses are the first in the region developed specifically for use in the prevention and control of epidemics

DUBAI: Police officers in Dubai will start using smart glasses to measure the temperatures of public transportation users in a secure way, state news agency WAM reported.
Called Rokid T1, the smart glasses are the first in the region developed specifically for use in the prevention and control of epidemics. It integrates both thermal imaging technology and artificial intelligence, and has been used in China and proven its effectiveness in measuring people’s temperature with high accuracy.
Brigadier General Obaid Al-Hathboor, director of Dubai’s Transportation Security Department, said the glasses can detect thermally at a distance of 2 meters and have the capacity to read the temperatures of 100 people per minute.