Coptic Churches In Canada On Alert

Coptic churches in Canada and are on high alert following a New Year's Day church bombing in Egypt that killed 21 people.

Selim Naguib, the head of the Canadian Coptic Association, told The Canadian Press that the RCMP is taking every precaution to ensure no attacks are carried out as Copts celebrate the Orthodox Christmas this Friday.

The association is working with local police and private security firms to ensure the safety of its churches.

Last week, an al-Qaeda-affiliated website published the names and personal information of more than 100 Canadian Copts. ""In this particular case, we're talking about supporters of al-Qaeda, a group that has demonstrated its intention and its capability to attack,"" said Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a former senior intelligence officer with CSIS who is now a security consultant.

""I wouldn't be surprised if there will be followers that can take this matter into their own hands, and do harm to this community.""

In Montreal, all five Coptic Orthodox churches have decided not to hold celebrations that were planned for Friday.

Rev. Tadros El-Masry of Virgin Mary Coptic Orthodox Church said events were cancelled in honour of the victims of the attack in Egypt and their families.

He said money that was to be spent on celebrations will instead be sent to the families of the 21 people killed Saturday outside a Coptic church in Alexandria. "