Christmas Eve passes without incident in Coptic churches

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Christmas Eve mass passed without incident in three Dutch Coptic churches on an al-Qaeda list of possible targets on the internet. Threats on the internet led to fears that the churches in the Netherlands may be attacked. All three churches were put under police surveillance during the services.

On New Year's Eve, 21 people were killed in a suicide attack on the al-Qiddissin church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria.

On Monday, it emerged that al-Qaeda had posted a list of Coptic churches with address details on the internet. The Dutch Coptic churches on the list were in Eindhoven, Utrecht and Amsterdam.

A spokesperson for the Coptic church in Amsterdam said the evening went "exceptionally well". Both services at the Holy Virgin Maria church were packed.

A minute's silence was held for the victims of the suicide attack in Alexandria during the service.

There are around 6,000 Coptic Christians in the Netherlands. Most of them come from Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Christmas is celebrated on a different date because the Copts use the Alexandrian calendar, with 365 days and six hours. The Coptic church has been in the Netherlands for 25 years.





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