31. AWR Daily Overview, May 10, 2012: Presidential candidate courts Copts, pledges ministry for Christian affairs

Article summary: 

Presidential candidate Husām Khayr Allāh said if he won the elections, he would set up a ministry for Coptic religious affairs to regulate the building of churches and other pending issues suffered by Copts in Egypt. [‘Amr Jalāl and Mukhlis ‘Abd al-Haī, al-Akhbār, May 10, p. 5] Read text in Arabic

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“The justice I know is blindfolded, which means that there is no difference between Muslims and Christians, white people or black people and have-nots or well-off persons based on the Prophet Muhammad hadīth that people are all even like the teeth of a comb,” Khayr Allāh said during a meeting with Bishops Rūsīn and Yūhannā in the archbishopric of Qena.

He added that he was betting on the Egyptian people’s inherent political awareness to debar whoever they think would not serve the nation’s interests, be it religious groups that have their own agendas or persons belonging to the old regime. [‘Amr Jalāl and Mukhlis ‘Abd al-Haī, al-Akhbār, May 10, p. 5] Read text in Arabic

Acting patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church held a series of meetings marked by confidentiality with some bishops of the Holy Synod to reach a guiding list of some presidential candidates to agree on one of them to be backed by the church in the forthcoming elections.

The church has set some standards in a candidate’s platform, including his emphasis on the principles of citizenship, respect for minorities’ rights and understanding for the inevitability of passing a unified law on construction of houses of worship and person status for non-Muslims.

Citizenship committees in churches are waiting for a signal from Bishop Bola, the chairman of the clerical council and the committees, to embark on propagation for a church-backed candidate in Coptic circles. [Jamāl George, al-Fajr, May 10, p. 8] Read original text in Arabic

Meanwhile, Bishop Pachomius said there is no one speaking on behalf of the church or claiming he represented Copts, adding no instructions were made to favor any of the candidates to the papal chair.

Priest Angelus, the secretary of Bishop Pachomius, denied reports claiming the acting patriarch’s approval to run for the post of pope, adding the persons recommended for the position will be named by the Holy Synod next week. [Author Not Mentioned, al-Akhbār, May 10, p. 3] Read text in Arabic

The 18-man committee receiving applications of candidates for the Saint Mark chair held a plenary meeting on Wednesday (May 9) under Bishop Pachomius to set criteria for sorting out the candidates.

The criteria include the gifts of guidance, education and fluency of foreign languages, good relations with the people and state officials. [Ashraf Sādiq, al-Ahrām, May 10, p. 14] Read original text in Arabic

Bishop Marqus of Shubrā al-Khaymah and chairman of the committee on registration of voters of a new patriarch, said he will meet with Bishop Pachomius on Thursday (May 10) to determine standards on voters from parishes abroad after a decision by the Holy Synod to allow them to cast their votes. [‘Imād Khalīl and Rajab Ramadān, al-Misrī al-Yawm, May 10, p. 17] Read original text in Arabic

On the other hand, the Azhar reiterated rejection against drafting any laws pertaining to regulation of work inside it away from its scholars, shaykhs and old history, adding it refuses many of the amendments submitted by Salafī lawmaker ‘Alī Qatāmish, particularly stripping the Azhar of its status as “ultimate reference on religious issues”. [Ahmad al-Buhayrī, al-Misrī al-Yawm, May 10, p. 1] Read original text in Arabic

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