Egypt’s Coptic Pope Warns of Extremist Trend

Article Summary
Egypt’s new Coptic Pope, Bishop Tawadros II, has threatened to withdraw Coptic representatives from the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting the new constitution should Article 2 be revised to support a more literal application of Shariah law.

Bishop Tawadros II has said that the Orthodox Church is committed to keeping Article 2 of Egypt’s draft constitution intact, as it was in the old constitution.

In a meeting with a delegation from the syndicates of journalists and lawyers at the Monastery of Saint Bishoy yesterday [Nov. 12], Tawadros threatened to withdraw church representatives from the Constituent Assembly, should the extremist atmosphere within the committee continue to prevail. He also explained that the church is coordinating with Al-Azhar University on the constitution.  

Karem Mahmoud, secretary-general of the Syndicate of Journalists, said that the syndicate has postponed its Extraordinary General Assembly meeting until Nov. 25, as the previous date coincided with the papal inauguration ceremony. 

Mohammed Abdel Qoddous, rapporteur of the Freedoms Committee at the Syndicate of Journalists, conveyed greetings from the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood and added that there were three fundamental problems that the pope hoped to solve. These include the equal rights of Egyptian Copts and Muslims to hold positions of public office — a national, not sectarian, demand — the freedom to build churches and the prevention of sectarian incidents.

The pope met with Mukhtar al-Hamalawy, the governor Beheira governorate, and said that he believes that the situation in the country changed following the January 25 Revolution, since Copts began to resort to the government and the parliament — rather than the church — to demand that their problems be resolved.

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