Egypt's Coptic Leaders Snub Clinton

Article Summary
Several leading Christian Egyptian figures refused to meet with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton because of the US’s alleged support to Morsi and the Islamist movements. Other’s refused to attend a Christian-exclusive planned round table meeting with Clinton because they claimed it promoted sectarian divisions in Egypt. 

A number of Coptic political figures issued a joint statement announcing their refusal to meet with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to Cairo. The statement — which was signed by Naguib Sawiris, Dr. Emad Gad, Georgette Kalliny and Michael Mounir — said that since the eruption of the glorious revolution, Clinton, along with a number of US politicians, had visited Cairo and held meetings, and expressed the US’ support for political Islamist movements while generally ignoring the civil and secular movements in Egypt.

The statement added that at the time, and especially before the legislative and presidential elections, these visits were seen as a form of external pressure aiming to empower the religious movement in Egypt. It also said that the [US administration] went as far as to announce their interest in a specific presidential candidate. The statement noted that Clinton’s current visit and her desire to meet with Coptic politicians after having met with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist leaders is a form of sectarian division, which is rejected by the Egyptian people in general and by Christians in particular. Therefore, they declined the invitation to attend the meeting to protest against the policies of Mrs. Hillary Clinton and in solidarity with the Egyptian street, which also rejects these policies.

Dr. Emad Gad, a member of the higher body of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, said that a number of Christian figures were invited to the US Embassy-sponsored round table meeting with Clinton to discuss the situation of the Christians in Egypt. In a statement to Al-Masry al-Youm, Gad said that he is an Egyptian politician willing to discuss citizenship and human rights issues with Egyptians, and on national grounds. However, he said that he refuses to attend a meeting on a religious basis, rejects the deal between the US and the Muslim Brotherhood to establish a religious system in Egypt and sees this system as a serious threat to Egypt’s unity and cohesion.

In a letter [to US officials], Gad wrote: “I reject your policy toward my country. I reject your quest to establish religious rule, which would fragment my country. I am willing to sit down and talk as an Egyptian politician who represents the interests of my country, Egypt. Thus, accept my apology for not participating in the round table meeting.”

For her part, Dr. Mona Makram Ubeid, professor of political science at the American University in Cairo, apologized to the US Embassy in Cairo for not meeting with Hillary Clinton. She chose not to participate in the meeting because it only included Christian figures, a concept that she rejects.

Found in: sectarian divide, sectarian, morsi, islamists, hillary clinton, coptic christians

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