34. A Coptic parliament; an idea rejected

Article summary: 
A number of expatriate Copts called for the establishment of a Coptic Parliament. The idea was regarded as sectarian and against national unity. It has also faced both Church and public rejection; three denominations in Egypt rejected the idea. 
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Press review based on al-Wafd, April 9, 2010 (p. 8), May 11, 2010 (p. 8); al-Shurūq al-Jadīd, May 11, 2010 (p. 1); al-Yawm al-Sābi‘, May 11, 2010 (p. 2); al-Dustūr, May 8, 2010 (p. 4), May 11, 2010 (p. 5); Rose al-yūsuf, May 9, 2010 (pp. 1, 5)

Coptic activist Michael Munīr has announced the establishment of a Coptic parliament; this week the Egyptian press quickly published reactions to the announcement. The May 11, 2010 issue of Al-Dustūr reported that 52 Coptic activists abroad have issued a declaration expressing their collective disagreement with Munīr’s idea of so-called Coptic parliament and denied having any relation with it.

Among the people who signed the declaration were Father Marqus ‘Azīz, Alfons Qilādah, head of the International Coptic Union, and Kamīl Halīm, head of the Coptic American Union.
Coptic activist Nādir Fawzī, a Member of Parliament’s preparatory committee, stated that Michael Munīr was not the founder of the Coptic Parliament, but simply head of the information committee, being among many who desired a Coptic Parliament.
Fawzī further claimed that those who side against the Parliament are terrorized and not expressing their free will. Fawzī further stated that some people would have expressed their approval of the parliament if Munīr was out. Among such people is Munīr Bishāy, head of California Copts’ Association. For his part, Bīhsāy was reported in al-Wafd of Masy 11, 2010 as denying Fawzī’s claims, asserting that he had never declared his approval of Coptic parliament, whether to al-Tarīq TV Channel or anywhere else.
On the other hand, MP Muhamamd al-‘Umdah filed a claim with the attorney general accusing Michael Munīr of using religion to stir sedition and threat the national unity.
Al-Wafd of the same day headlined: “Coptic expatriates’ conflicts knockout the Coptic Parliament!” Author of the article, Muntasir Sa‘d stated that Jack ‘Atā’ Allāh, the Coptic activists who suggested establishing Coptic parliament, described the people who accuse it as “the wedding elderly” [A cultural and traditional term used to describe killjoys, or people who criticize and spoil the good contexts.].
Al-Wafd of May 9, 2010 reported that the freedom Center for Human Rights in Qlayūbīyah condemned the declarations of Michael Munīr about the Coptic Parliament.
Najīb Jibrā’īl, heads of the Egyptian union for Human Rights stated that the very idea of the Coptic parliament is sectarian and increases sectarian tension.
The May 9 issue of Rose al-Yūsuf published reports stating that churches of various denominations expressed their rejection to the idea of a Coptic parliament. Rose al-Yūsuf published that Pope Shenouda had been informed, and did not show any interest and consequently did not comment.
Father Salīb Mattá Sāwīris expressed the Coptic Orthodox Church’s rejection of the parliament stating, “We do not want a sectarian parliament but a national one that can face problems and solve them.” He also rejected resorting to foreign bodies.
Reverend Safwat al-Bayyādī, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church rejected the establishment of the Coptic parliament as a sectarian entity. Metropolitan Butrus Fahīm, associate to the patriarch of the Coptic Catholic Church, described it as “nonsense.”
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