Egypt Independent

Pope Shenouda rejects calls for civil disobedience

Pope Shenouda III, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, joined other political and social forces Wednesday in rejecting the civil disobedience that some activists have called for on 11 February to mark the first anniversary of former President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation.

Prominent Islamic institutions, including Al-Azhar and Dar al-Ifta, have voiced their disapproval of the plan, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party.

The Supreme Council of Armed Forces has also criticized the idea.

Political forces, particularly the April 6 Youth Movement and supporters of Mohamed ElBaradei, have called for nationwide civil disobedience on that day to demand a swift handover of power to civilians and speedier trials for those involved in killing demonstrators.

On Tuesday, 40 political movements and parties agreed to start the civil disobedience a day in advance, with a marches to the SCAF headquarters in Abbasseya.

Shenouda said during his weekly sermon Wednesday that civil disobedience is “unacceptable by religion and the state.”

“The verses of the Bible which urge [people] to obey their ruler are many," said Shenouda. "Maybe the people calling for civil disobedience will express themselves through it for some days and then end it. May God pass these days peacefully."

“In these days, we live in a state of fluidity, which some call chaos, and it may turn into a habit and practice because there is no one to put a limit on it. Some call it civil disobedience, and I don’t know what this word means,” Shenouda said in the prelude to his sermon on repentance.

Shenouda called on the police and military to protect people.

“We, my brothers, all are seeking a sound spiritual life acceptable by God, beneficial to all, beneficial to the community where we live and away also from any kind of deviation in order to [establish] the ties of love, and achieve the desires of all people in this dear country,” he said.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm