05/16/2011, 00.00
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Secular parties join forces to stop Muslim Brotherhood ascendancy

The leaders of parties born in the wake of the Revolution in Tahrir Square meet in Cairo. “A coalition of moderate parties is the only way to stop the progress of radical groups, and avoid the creation of a confessional state,” says a spokesperson for the Egyptian Catholic Church. The military reopens 16 churches closed for security reasons.
Cairo (AsiaNews) – A meeting of 1,500 leaders from moderate parties has rekindled hope that Muslim Brotherhood’s apparent ascendancy in the upcoming election in September might be halted, Fr Rafik Greiche, head of the press office of the Catholic Church of Egypt and spokesperson for seven Catholic denominations, told AsiaNews.

The event was organised by Tahrok Igaby (Positive Action) and other secular-oriented groups. It brought together leaders from a number of parties created following the revolution in Tahrir Square, namely the Free Egyptians Party, the Justice Party, the Democratic Front Party and the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, to set up a coalition to transform Egypt into a secular state.

“A coalition of moderate parties is the only way to stop the progress of radical groups, and avoid the creation of a confessional state,” Fr Greiche said.

Recent clashes between Copts and Muslim extremists, which left 11 people dead and hundreds injured, is raising concerns over Egypt’s Islamisation, a prospect that not only scares the country’s Christian minority but also millions of moderate Muslims, especially women and the poor.

“A takeover by radical Islamic parties would especially hurt widows and women abandoned by their husband because they would not be able to maintain their children,” the clergyman said.

The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic parties want to apply the Sharia in a radical fashion so that women cannot go out of their homes or work.

In recent weeks, many Muslim women have joined protests organised by the Coptic community in front of Egyptian state TV, shouting slogans in favour of the separation of state and religion and against the country’s Islamisation.

Today, the ruling military council announced the reopening of 16 churches closed for security reasons, following Muslim-Christian clashes on Saturday.

The government also announced a new law to regulate the construction of new religious buildings. (S.C.)

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See also
Egypt’s military considering postponing September elections by three months
Coptic Catholic leader warns against worrying too much about Islamists' election victory
Al Azhar offers a 'spiritual approach' to stop Egypt's violence
Egypt, secular parties take to the streets to correct path of the Jasmine revolution
For Catholic Church, Islamist victory scares Christians but expresses the will of the people


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