Amid threats from supporters of Islamists President Mohammed Morsi, Egyptian Christians are planning to join in protests on June 30 to express opposition to the trampling of their fundamental rights. The protests express opposition to the Islamization of Egypt that has taken place under Morsi’s rule that has seen Christians religious freedom and physical safety repeatedly abused while the country economically is on the brink of collapse.
6/26/2013 Egypt (al-Ahram) – Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood and its allies have been telling the country’s Copts to keep off the streets during the protests planned for 30 June, with Assem Abdel-Maged, a senior figure in Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya Islamist group, telling the country’s Christians that “if you go down into the streets on 30 June, you will bring black days onto yourselves.”
The signs suggest that the ruling Brotherhood is scared of the prospect of millions of Egyptians, among them the country’s Copts, taking to the streets to denounce its rule.
Last week, President Mohamed Morsi invited Pope Tawadros II, the leader of the country’s Christians, to a meeting at Al-Ittihadiya presidential palace in what has been seen as an attempt to put pressure on him. According to high-level Church sources, Morsi wanted to sound out the pope on the 30 June protests.
“I cannot stop the Copts from taking part in the protests because this is a matter of their personal freedom. I have no desire to involve the Church in politics,” the pope is reported to have said.
“Do what is necessary to bring the nation together and work for the peace of Egypt, not to stir up quarrels. I am still hoping to see improvements in the economic and social life of the country,” the pope told the president, as the latter suggested that the Church should advise the country’s Christians not to take part in the protests.
As the pressures mounted on the Church, US Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson paid the pope a visit before he went to meet the president, with the timing of the visit raising eyebrows in the Coptic community.