Bishop to tell Egyptian Christians to immigrate

ICC Note:

“Coptic Christian Bishop Paul of Tanta will tell Copts to leave Egypt if the Church is not guaranteed religious jurisdiction. Bishop Paul, a representative of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the Constituent Assembly, is also threatening to leave the Assembly if Article II is not modified to his liking,” Daily News Egypt reports.

By Connor Molloy

7/30/2012 Egypt (Daily News Egypt) – Coptic Christian Bishop Paul of Tanta will tell Copts to leave Egypt if the Church is not guaranteed religious jurisdiction. Bishop Paul, a representative of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the Constituent Assembly, is also threatening to leave the Assembly if Article II is not modified to his liking.

Bishop Paul wants the contentious Article II of the constitution, which deals with the nature of the state as it relates to religious authority and principles, to include text guaranteeing that the Church will be given the mantel of authority for issues concerning Copts.

“If this text is not added, I will tell the Copts: There is no longer a place for you in the land of Egypt, because it is not the right of the judiciary to rule on the clergy,” the Bishop told Al-Shorouk newspaper.

The Bishop’s threat to leave Egypt taps into worries within the Coptic community and the country at large that Copts will leave if Egypt becomes more Islamic. Others are arguing that they have already begun to do this.

Dr. Naguib Gabriel, head of the Egyptian Union of Human Rights, has conducted research finding that over one hundred thousand Copts have settled abroad since the revolution. This figure has been widely cited in Christian news outlets.

Those numbers, however, may be very difficult to verify, argued Sherief Etman of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights.

“We don’t have numbers like this, because we would need to get this information from the government,” Etman said. He added that the government does not like to incite fear and would therefore be reluctant to research and release information about the exact number of Coptic Christians who have left since the revolution.

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