Egyptians across the country, both Muslim and Christian, are reacting with sadness to the death of Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Shenouda III, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 88 following a long battle with illness, according to state television and cathedral sources.
- Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, praised Shenouda’s status as a respected national figure, remembering his support of Palestinian rights and “vision towards Jerusalem.”
- The chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, Mohammed Morsi, expressed his condolences and praised Shenouda’s “long patriotic history and contribution to the nation.”
- Mohammed Badie, the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, expressed support for Coptic Christians during their time of mourning, and called for Shenouda’s successor to be someone who can “keep promoting the sense of unity between all citizens.”
- Former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf said Shenouda was a “good citizen and a valuable leader,” saying his memory will always “remain in our hearts.”
- Naguib Sawiris, a Coptic businessman and founder of the al-Masrayeen al-Ahrrar political party, said on his Twitter page that it was a “very sad day for Egyptians,” because “an icon of wisdom, intellect, and knowledge, a man of courage and honor is gone.”
- Hundreds of Coptic Christians, mourning and clad in black clothes, gathered outside St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo on Saturday to remember Pope Shenouda.
- Presidential candidates Ahmed Shafiq, Amr Moussa, and Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh also expressed their condolences in separate statements on Saturday.
- Egypt Independent notes that, as of late Saturday, the hardline Islamist Salafi movement or the Salafi Nour Party has issued no statements.