Egypt’s new Coptic pope has threatened to withdrawal church representatives from the country’s Constituent Assembly, a body tasked with writing Egypt’s constitution. The assembly is dominated by Islamists, many of whom are Salafis—who adhere to the radical Wahhabi doctrine of Islam found in Saudi Arabia—that are demanding the immediate implementation of Islamic Sharia law. The Coptic Church feels they are not being granted fair representation in the assembly which is determined to draft a constitution that limits the civil liberties of non-Muslims, including the religious freedoms of Christians. The church’s potential withdrawal may encourage Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court to disband the assembly, which has already been declared unconstitutional since its members were appointed by a parliament that has since been dissolved.
By Imad Khalil, Yasser Chmais and Hamdi Kassem
11/13/2012 Egypt (AL-Monitor)- 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.