Pope Shenouda III suggested that a national council for national unity be formed to avoid any possible future sectarian tension in the relations between Muslims and Christians.
The pope’s initiative was not the first in this regard. Coptic thinker Dr. Mīlād Hannā had proposed a project in which he wanted to engage a number of Coptic and Muslim thinkers.
Hannā’s project seems to have encouraged other Copts to organize such initiatives. Al-Usbūc has received a draft of a citizenship document proposed by a number of Copts with political interests.
It is said that the document will be offered for public debate after its final wording. The document will be proposed as general guideline to reduce the sectarian tension constantly escalating in Egypt.
The document was the result of many meetings of leading Coptic figuring the likes of George Ishāq, former coordinator of the Kifāyah Movement, sociologist Samīr Marqus, and researcher Samīr Fawzī. Additionally Dr. Nabīl Marqus, Munīr ‘Ayyād a development expert and the noted researcher Dr. Hannā Girgis.
The main axis of the document is Muslim-Christian relations in Egypt. The document highlights the danger of the increasing escalation of sectarian tension and its negative impacts on Egyptian society.
The declared goal of the document was defending the historical national unity in Egypt and the openness to all views.
The document criticized the governments delay in handling the Coptic issues and some of the Islamic views. It also criticized the government for not providing a clear and direct explanation of the concept of citizenship and the Muslim-Christian relations.
On the other hand, the document praised some Muslim efforts in the issues of citizenship and Muslim-Christian relations.
The document warned of the dangers of division, which is the formation of entities and groups on a religious basis. It also shed light on the negative aspects of the sectarian tension, asserting the importance of bridging the increasing gaps between Muslims and Christians.
[Reviewer: similar news was reported in al-Dustūr of May 27, 2007, (p. 7)]