UPDATE: Thursday morning via Brian Lilley:
I just spoke with Father Mikhail Fam from St. George and St. Anthony’s he tells me that the decision to scale back public Christmas celebrations has nothing to do with any security threat and everything to do with solemnly mourning the victims of the bombing in Egypt.
“What we have said is that in view of what happened in Egypt last week we will focus on prayers,” Fr. Mikhail told me on the phone this morning.
Asked directly if Ottawa or any other police service advised scaling back due to security concerns and he was blunt.
“No, never has this happened.”
Mass will still be celebrated tonight for the Orthodox Christmas eve.
Over to you CBC to explain what happened.
Yesterday, I saw tweets flying by about “Canada now having no-go zones” for non-Muslims and expressing other outrage, due to a CBC story that stated:
“Coptic Christians in Ottawa are trimming their public Christmas celebration plans on the advice of police concerned about the safety of parishioners after the New Year’s Day bombing at a Coptic church in Egypt.“
(Note that the Coptics are on a different calendar than Roman Catholics and Protestants…)
However, I saw this tweet in due time:
“Serves me right for following a CBC tip RT @smithjoanna: @MinJK Coptic priests at both Ottawa churches have told me story is not true“
I spoke with people who attended the Ottawa memorial service for the bombing victims held at St. George and St. Anthony Church in the city’s east end and there are conflicting stories.
What is agreed on is that Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, the Orthodox Christmas Eve, but receptions, meals and other celebrations are cancelled. The reasons for the cancellation are what appear to be up in the air.
Were these events cancelled because the parish is in mourning over the bombing as some have suggested or is it because police – either Ottawa Police or the RCMP’s A Division, the one responsible for the National Capital Region – advised the Coptic churches in Ottawa to scale back celebrations because of the threat of violence.
If CBC is wrong then they will have to correct and back away from their story which has already been corrected from an earlier version which claimed Christmas was cancelled. If CBC is right then police officials in Ottawa need to explain what happened and fix it.
There is no reason that police in Canada’s capital city cannot protect two Christian churches from terrorist wing-nuts intent on doing harm. And let’s not mince words on who these terrorist wing-nuts are, they are Islamic radicals not Presbyterians intent on forcing Copts to accept the dogma of Sola Scriptura.
I’m waiting for a follow up from him this morning.
It’s possible the CBC reporter didn’t know the difference between “Mass” and “celebrations.”
Indeed, that what Jason Kenney’s office tweeted via @MinJK:
Earlier CBC reports about cancellation of Ottawa Coptic Xmas services apparently exaggerated. Corrected report says only reception cancelled
But yes, the “security” angle looks bad when contrasted with yesterday’s other big story, about Mounties apologizing to the entire Ottawa Muslim community for some terror arrests.