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» 11/06/2012
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
04/10/2013 EGYPT - ISLAM
Egypt, Tawadros II: Morsi is responsible for the attacks against Christians
08/09/2013 EGYPT
Egypt's Pope Tawadros targeted by Islamists
11/07/2012 EGYPT
Salafists seize Church land in Cairo to hit back at new patriarch
01/04/2013 EGYPT
Al-Azhar rejects Salafist threats, extends Christmas greetings to Orthodox Copts
11/09/2012 EGYPT
Islamists seize Tahrir Square to impose Sharia on Egypt

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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