Coptic Orthodox Churches across the country are bracing for some backlash because of an anti-Muslim film promoted by a reported church member in California.
"I've seen a couple of seconds of it, long enough to know it offends me," says Communication director Ihab Marcus of St Marks Coptic Orthodox Church in Fairfax. "It's easy to see why people would disapprove of the film."
The Film, "The Innocence of Muslims," portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer, a homosexual and child abuser. It has sparked violent protests in the Middle East--and is implicated in the attack that killed the US Ambassador to Libya and other Americans.
Father Paul Girguis of St Marks joined Coptic Church Leaders across the country in condemning the film.
"We condemn any acts that promote hatred against any religion or causes people to enact hatred toward any religion," Father Girguis says.
During its 19th annual Egyptian festival, St Mark's opened its doors for church tours so the community can learn more about their faith.
"We are Christians first orthodox second, and Coptic third. Our values are Christian values," Father Girguis says.
Still, tension between Coptic Orthodox Church members--a religious minority in Egypt, and Muslims is a reality.
And in fact, the man behind the film says his intent was to highlight discrimination against the Coptic Church by Muslims.
"That probably has more to do with the political situation in Egypt. It's not what we're taught at all. We're taught what all Christians are taught--the teachings of Christ. That's what we live by," church member Leah Mesfin says.