Archbishop of Canterbury tells Egypt's Christians not to fear

With protests against Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood due to take place on Sunday, the Archbishop of Canterbury has encouraged Christians in the country not to fear but to unite.

In an interview with SAT-7, the Most Reverend Justin Welby said it was "a time for turning to God and seeking his love, and his compassion and his goodness".

"Do not let uncertainty result in fear which drives us apart, but through unity overcome fear," he said.

Asked how Egyptian Christians should respond to pressure from those of other faiths, the Archbishop urged them to demonstrate the unconditional love of God.

"Jesus calls us to love one another and he calls us to love our neighbour, so we're called to unity and hospitality, to have open arms to welcome show them the love of God without conditions," he said.

June 30 marks the first anniversary of President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power but there are fears of more bloodshed on the day.

SAT-7 said many Egyptians do not see President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood as representative of the people and that their first year in power has been one of economic depression and widespread social frustration.

Tensions have escalated since the June 9 shooting of Adel al-Hassan, a member of Tamarrod, a grassroots opposition movement demanding that Morsi step down. Al-Hassan survived the shooting but was left partially paralysed.

SAT-7 adds that supporters of President Morsi are increasingly blaming the Church for inciting opposition and threatening reprisals if the protests go ahead.

The Christian broadcaster is responding by broadcasting a series of programmes encouraging Egypt's Christians to pray for the situation and respond biblically.

The series includes 10 episodes on the SAT-7 ARABIC channel of special meetings recorded at Kasr El Dobara Evangelical Church in Cairo calling people to pray for Egypt.