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Egypt Recalls Envoy After Pope Demands Protection For Non-Muslims

A woman asks riot police for directions as they block the road while standing guard near the Orthodox church where New Year's bomb attacks took place in Alexandria, Egypt.
Egypt has recalled its Vatican ambassador for consultations after Pope Benedict XVI demanded that governments do more to protect Christian minorities in predominantly Muslim countries.

Citing recent attacks on churches that have killed dozens of Christians, Pope Benedict on January 10 singled out Egypt, Nigeria, and Iraq as countries that need to adopt measures to protect religious minorities.

The pope also called on Pakistan to repeal its anti-blasphemy law, saying the legislation serves as a pretext for violence against non-Muslims.

An Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement described Benedict's remarks as "interference" in the internal affairs of other countries.

Meanwhile, reports say one Egyptian Christian has been shot dead on a train and at least three others injured. It was not immediately clear if the incident was religiously motivated.

compiled from agency reports