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  • » 11/06/2012, 00.00

    EGYPT

    New Coptic Orthodox patriarch says no to Sharia-inspired constitution



    In his first press release, Anba Tawadros II speaks out against Islamism's growing stranglehold on Egyptian society. For the head of the Coptic Church, Egypt is a great country because it is home to Christians and Muslims. Pope Benedict XVI and President Morsi send their greetings. Salafists reject any relations with Christians and occupy an area of the diocese of Shobra el-Khema (Cairo).

    Cairo (AsiaNews) - For Anba Tawadros II, the newly elected patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Christians and other minorities should have their place in the future Egyptian constitution, which has become hostage to Islamists following the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in recent elections.

    In his first press release, the prelate said that the Church would oppose any step taken by the constituent assembly to impose Islamic law on the country. "If the constitution addresses one part of the community and ignores another it will take society backwards," he said. "The beauty of Egyptian society is the presence of Muslims beside Christians. Diversity is strong and beautiful," he added.

    Elected on Sunday, Anba Tawadros II was the bishop Behayra (Rosetta, Nile Delta). A trained pharmacist, he studied at the Anba Bishoy Monastery and has been committed to the reunification of all the Churches, especially of Copts dispersed around the world.

    Since his elections, messages of congratulations have been pouring in, including from Egyptian President Morsi and Pope Benedict XVI.

    Today, he is set to receive a delegation from the Apostolic Nunciature to Egypt.

    The replacement of Shenouda III is "a great figure who knows well the situation and problems of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Egyptian society," said Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church. "He is only 60, and this gives Christians a lot of hope that his tenure will last a long time."

    All the media in the country followed the process of electing the patriarch, a sign of the important place Christians have in this predominantly Muslim country.

    Among Muslims, there were two kinds of reaction, according to Fr Greiche.

    Leaders in the Muslim Brotherhood, including President Morsi, expressed positive comments, offering to work with the head of the Coptic Church to build the country. "Such a position bodes well for future relations with the country's political majority," Fr Greiche noted.

    Salafists however ignored the event, refusing to congratulate the Christian community. Instead, they reiterated the primacy of Islam on the country.

    "This nigth, Muslim extremists gathered in front of the seat of the Diocese of Shobra el-Khema (Cairo), blocking the entrance and shouting slogans against Christians, the patriarch and the president, They have taken over a plot of the diocese planting a sign with Ebad Al-Rahman Mosque", said the spokesman of the Catholic Church. "(S.C.)

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    See also

    10/04/2013 EGYPT - ISLAM
    Egypt, Tawadros II: Morsi is responsible for the attacks against Christians
    Coptic Orthodox Patriarch says never in two thousand years has St. Mark’s Cathedral suffered such an attack. The Islamist president is not protecting Christians. The video of the assault which took place on April 7. Young Christians and Muslims take to streets in sign of the unity of the Egyptian people.

    04/01/2013 EGYPT
    Al-Azhar rejects Salafist threats, extends Christmas greetings to Orthodox Copts
    Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand imam al-Azhar, makes the announcement during a meeting with Coptic Patriarch Tawadros II. Coptic community prepares for Orthodox Christmas on 7 January.

    09/11/2012 EGYPT
    Islamists seize Tahrir Square to impose Sharia on Egypt
    Thousands of Muslim extremists bussed in from around the country occupy the place that came to symbolise the January 2011 pro-democracy demonstrations. Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist al-Nour Party leaders stay away from the rally, but many of their rank and files are present. Pro-democracy parties and Egypt's Christians are running out of time to stop Egypt from becoming an Islamic republic.

    24/06/2013 EGYPT
    Giza: Islamist mob attacks Shia village killing four
    The lynching took place yesterday afternoon in the village of Abu Zawyat Muslam (Giza). Hassan Shehata, an important leader of the Shia community in Egypt, is among the dead. Apparently, the police stood idly by watching rather than intervening. The military says it is ready to step in the political fray to stop the country from slipping "into a dark tunnel of conflict," the Defence minister said.

    18/09/2013 EGYPT
    Curfew in Delga, a Islamist-held town where Christians cannot live
    This morning, the army entered some of the town's districts only thanks to air cover. The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists had taken it over on 14 August. Because Islamists are heavily armed, the army and police waited for reinforcements before moving in. half of the town's 20,000 Christians have fled after churches and homes were torched or demolished. Those left have to pay jizya, a tax for unbelievers last levied under Ottoman rule.



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