34. Azhar paper pursues open-door principle, says official
Date of source:
July 10, 2011
Ikhlās 'Atā Allāh
The Azhar's 11-item document, issued upon an initiative by Grand Shaykh of the Azhar Dr. Ahmad al-Tayīb, is pursuing a principle of open door to all intellectual, literary and political orientations, according to Dr. Mahmūd 'Azab, the director of the Azhar's Dialogue Center.
"The document's key objective is to deepen the Egyptian people's vision in the face of religious and political opportunism," said 'Azab in an interview to Watanī newspaper of July 10.
He pointed out that the Azhar, through this paper, is trying to strike a balance between the international human rights covenants and the Egyptian values and traditions.
The rapid turn of events in Egypt over the past few weeks has of necessity calmed down the heated debate over the unified law for building places of worship. What with the recent al-Azhar document reflecting the venerable institution’s enlightened vision of the future; the disgruntled revolutionaries back in Tahrir expressing severe discontent with the rulers’ failure to meet their aspirations; in addition to all the frenzied mobility on the political arena, Egyptians are out of breath to catch up with and respond to the sweeping turmoil.
19. Closed churches file...From State Security to SCAF
Date of source:
July 3, 2011
Ramsīs al-Najār, lawyer and the individual responsible for the file of closed churches, said that there are 58 requests to open Coptic Orthodox churches presently before the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and only a few numbers have been opened.
Al-Najār said that there is a church in al-Rahmānīyah, in Naj' Hamādi of Qena governorate, closed from 1975. Although the SCAF decided to open it, the governor of Qena did not execute the decision.
“Lots of rumors have spread nowadays; some of the most recent fallacies circulated concern the church of the Holy Virgin in ‘Ain Shams, the re-opening of which, after three years of closure, triggered a crisis,” says Yūsuf Sīdhum, author of the article.
18. 48 acquitted referred to criminal court in Imbābah's incidents
Date of source:
June 12, 2011
Peter Ramsīs, the lawyer in the Imbābah, incidents stated that the following individuals have been acquitted in Imbābah's incidents on June 3, 2011. They are accused of illegitimate gathering, meditated murder, possessing firearms, and robbery.
Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III has stated in an official statement that he does not have a consultant or a spokesperson in Egypt. The statement was directed towards Hānī 'Azīz, the President of Egypt’s Peace Lovers Association.
Following the Pope's statement, within hours 'Azīz blamed the media who wrongly attributed him as being the Pope's consultant.
No sooner did the authorities issue a decision to reopen a number of churches which had been closed by the former security apparatus than a crisis erupted—one in a long line of attempts to hijack the 25 January Revolution by forces opposed to democracy, freedom, and citizenship rights. Among the first churches picked for reopening was that of Holy Virgin in the eastern Cairo district of Ain Shams. Once the building was reopened and a number of Copts entered, a Muslim crowd gathered outside, chanting their opposition to the move: “No to the church”. We know of no reason for such an objection, other than that this crowd wishes to see no church opened and no Copts performing prayers—as though the church were some evil place that threatens the community’s peace or stability. In all cases, the reopening of the church in 'Ayn Shams was thwarted.
Subhī Sālih, Muslim Brotherhood (MB) figure, said in the public conference organized by the group in al-'Abāsīyah, that choosing Coptic thinker Rafīq Habīb as the Deputy President of the MB's party Freedom and Justice will be a message to the United States of America to not interfere in Copts affairs in Egypt.
He added that Habīb will be the MB party spokesperson outside of Egypt.
In the immediate aftermath of the tragic attack against the Copts in Imbabāh a fortnight ago—the latest in a series of episodes by salafis and thugs aimed at hijacking the 25 January Revolution—the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) dispatched a fact-finding commission to Imbabāh. The commission investigated the situation on the ground, talking to eyewitnesses, members of the clergy, and the hospitalized injured, and came up with an accurate account of the events. It released a candid report analyzing the unhealthy climate which allowed the disgraceful events to take place. Praiseworthy is that the commission did not stop at finding the facts, but offered recommendations to prevent the recurrence of similar attacks.