In rare criticism, the head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Shenouda III, called on the government to address Christian grievances about discrimination — and urged his flock to quell violent rioting over a New Year's Day church bombing in Alexandria that killed 21. The interview Monday with Coptic Pope Shenouda III on state television came as hundreds of predominantly Christian protesters clashed with riot police in northern Cairo in late-night protests over government policies.
"The state also has a duty. It must see to the problems of the Copts and try to resolve them," Shenouda said. "Problems are solved with calm and communication, not with anger and emotions," he said, while acknowledging that the tensions were fed by the Christian community's long-standing grievances.