US Coptics supporting Christians in Egypt

By JEFF KAROUB | October 10, 2011 | 5:20 PM EDT

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. Coptic community is preparing for three days of fasting and praying to support fellow Egyptian Christians attacked by Egyptian authorities as they tried to peacefully protest.

Coptics in Michigan and California were among those heeding the call of their spiritual leader, Pope Shenouda III, to participate in the mourning period starting Tuesday.

The death toll from a night of rioting has risen to 26. Most of those killed were Christians protesting over an attack on a church.

The Rev. Maximus Habib of St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church and the St. Mary & St. Philopater Church in the Detroit suburb of Troy says the goal is to seek peace in Cairo and elsewhere. He serves a combined congregation of about 600 families.

The U.S. has about 300,000 Copts.