35. AWR Daily Overview, June 8, 2012: Egypt will never be Afghanistan or Iran, Shafīq tells Copts

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Presidential candidate Ahmad Shafīq asserted that there is no alternative for Egypt but a civil state, adding Egypt will never be another Afghanistan or Iran. [Husnī Mīlād, al-Akhbār, June 8, p. 6] Read original text in Arabic

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"The Egyptian people have always been living together as Muslims and Copts in the Nile Valley…citizenship must be available for everyone on the basis of efficiency, not on the basis of religion," said Shafīq during a conference hosted by Counselor Najīb Jabrā'īl, Chairman of the Egyptian Union for Human Rights Organization, and Muslim and Coptic human rights activists.

Shafīq rejected "defeatist" calls and threats to any Egyptian casting their votes in favor of a civil state, noting this is a flaw marring the Egyptian state that must impose respect for the law. [Husnī Mīlād, al-Akhbār, June 8, p. 6] Read original text in Arabic

Jabrā'īl condemned intimidation practices against Copts and proponents of a civil state who are inclined to vote for Shafīq in the runoff round.

"These are glib statements and false accusations of betrayal to the January 25 revolution. A person who has self-confidence and trusts the people's choices could never make these threats," he said. [Author Not Mentioned, al-Akhbār, June 8, p. 6] Read original text in Arabic

The Muslim Brotherhood intensified contacts with leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church as a delegation from the group's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) visited the Beni Suef bishopric on Wednesday (June 6) to call for supporting Islamist candidate Dr. Muhammad Mursī.

Bishop Ghubriyāl of Beni Suef, who received the delegation, said the Muslim Brotherhood was damaged by recent statements made Islamist preacher Safwat Hijāzī made about the sharī'ah and khilāfah (caliphate), denying the church has given instructions to anyone to vote for Shafīq.

Dr. Tāriq Safwat, a member of the FJP secretariat, said the Brotherhood does not have anything to do with media attacks on Copts after the first round of the presidential elections, adding the mass media are maliciously distorting the image of the Muslim Brotherhood. ['Imād Khalīl and 'Umar al-Shaykh, al-Misrī al-Yawm, June 8, p. 6] Read original text in Arabic

Meanwhile, Counselor Munsif Sulaymān, a member of the committee overseeing the papal elections, said his panel discussed in a meeting under acting patriarch Bishop Pachomius the number of the electorate in churches at home and abroad.

"The committee finalized setting the number of voters at a total of 4,000 while their names will be announced on July 7," said Sulaymān in statements. ['Abd al-Wahāb Sha'bān, al-Wafd, June 8, p. 1] Read text in Arabic

Bishop Marqus, the chairman of the committee on registration of new voters of the 118th pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church, said expatriate Copts will participate in the voting process, adding they are up to 500. [Ashraf Sādiq, al-Ahrām, June 8, p. 10] Read original text in Arabic

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