The Evangelical and the Catholic churches have denounced the statements of Father Marqus ‘Azīz, the priest of the Hanging Church, in which he compared the second article of the Egyptian Constitution to the "racial isolation wall" between Israel and the occupied lands, and called on Pope Shenouda to take serious action against him.
‘Azīz, who is now in the United States, made these stamens to the websites of expatriate Copts, accusing those defending the second article of the Constitution of being "racists". Article two states that Islam is the religion of the state, Arabic is its official language, and the principles of Islamic sharī‘ah are the principal source for legislation.
Ikrām Lam‘ī, head of the media and publishing committee of the Coptic Church [Reviewer comment: Ikrām Lam‘ī is the head of the media and publishing committee of the Evangelical Church], stated that since it was introduced to the Constitution, the second article has not resulted in any kind of isolation between Muslims and Christians and that the hadd al-riddah was never implemented nor was any law referring to Copts as second-rate citizens issued. Lam‘ī stressed that such statements increase sectarian tension.
Father Rafīq Girīsh, spokesman of the Catholic Church stressed that he is againstpriests who exploit their presence abroad to attack the country. Girīsh clarified that the Catholic Church is not against the second article, but argued that the state’s reluctance to issue laws such as the personal status law for non-Muslims gives ‘Azīz and his like the opportunity to defame the reputation of Egypt abroad.