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Mahmūd Hishlah wrote an article in al-Hurīyah wal-‘Adālah entitled, “Copts on the verge of hell”. He wrote that the Church today is trying to “build on the edge of a wrecked cliff [politics] that is not fit for elevation”. The former Pope (referring to the late Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III) dealt with Anwar al-Sadāt (late Egyptian President) regime that ended up with him banished from the Papal seat (referring to year 1981 when Sadāt ordered Pope Shenouda into exile at the Monastery of Saint Bishoy (Dayr al-Anbā Bīshūy); he was then released in 1985 by Mubārak), which is expected when a spiritual institution like the Church violates the Bible and work in politics (Mahmūd Hishlah, al-Hurīyah wal-‘Adālah, Dec. 17, p. 15). Read original text in Arabic
By the time Watani reaches its readers on Sunday morning, the Egyptian people would have had their say on the draft constitution. If the draft is approved, Egypt would go on to elect a new People's Assembly; if it is not, we go back to Square One where a new Cosntituent Assembly is chosen and a new constitution should be drafted.
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Rarely has a constitution so divided a nation. Protests, both for and against and sometimes violent, have filled the street. Egypt’s Christians, meanwhile, are caught in the middle. Though united against the proposed draft, their responses have varied considerably.
Upon the decline of the Coptic Orthodox Church to join the dialogue initiated by President Muhammad Mursῑ after several of the Constituent Assembly members have withdrawn, Archpriest Angelious Ishāq, spokesman of Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, stated that the Church is not rejecting a meeting for dialogue, but it (the Church) rejects a meeting that would lead to no results. [Ahmad al-Sa’dāwῑ, al-Shurūq al-Jadῑd, Dec. 9, p. 5] Read original text in Arabic
Copts in Dayrūt of Asyut Governorate are terrified following repeated attacks by groups of thugs. In one instance, in Masārrah village (Dayrūt), thugs demanded payment from Copts, threatening to kidnap their sons, seize their land, and rape their women if they refused to pay. Human rights activist ‘Izzat Ibrahīm said that the people of Masāra initially paid the thugs because they feared for their lives, but were unable to continue paying. A report on the attacks notes that the security forces have not taken steps to arrest those responsible and that many people have been forced to leave their homes (Mājī Jamāl, Al-Sabāh, Dec. 18, p. 3). Read original text in Arabic
Grand Shaykh of the Azhar, Dr. Ahmad al-Tayyīb, launched yesterday a new initiative to reunite the political powers and end the state of division among the political parties and their polarizing the Egyptian street after it was announced that the referendum over the draft constitution is scheduled for Saturday (December 15). [Marwah al-Bashῑr, al-Ahrām, Dec. 4, p. 4] Read original text in Arabic
Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the Holy See of St Mark the Apostle, cast his ballot in al-Waylῑ polling station (Ashraf Sādiq, al-Ahrām, Dec. 16, p. 3). Read original text in Arabic
Cornelis Hulsman: Arab-West Report much appreciates the reflections of Dr. Nagia Abdelmogney Said, vice president of the Egyptian Moral Rearmament Association. AWR had several meetings in the past days with representatives of the Freedom and Justice Party, al-Nūr Party, al-Wafd Party, Free Egyptians and al-Dustūr Party as well as representatives of the Coptic Orthodox and Coptic Catholic Churches. Research intern Diana Serodio will work this out in reports for AWR but this will take time since we agreed to give the various spokespeople a chance to look at our draft report in order to make sure that we have represented their views well. The various interviews show deep divisions and complications. These deep divisions have resulted in street clashes and the killings of adherents of different parties which has only deepened the divisions. Egypt needs to find a way out of the current dilemma it is in and this is only possible through dialogue.
Through the Cairo Foreign Press Association we received today the following message dated December 9, 2012:
The Egyptian Presidency
Office of the President's Assistant on Foreign Relations & International Cooperation
The three main Christian denominations in Egypt stressed that they did not call Copts to boycott the constitutional referendum. They argued that Copts may choose what they want whether to boycott or participate in the yes-or-no referendum. ['Imād Khalīl, al-Misrī al-Yawm, December 11, p. 10] Read original text in Arabic