PM to re-open 16 churches as Copts continue their sit-in

National Justice Committee (NJC) member Amir Ramzy said that Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has decided to re-open 16 churches located in six governorates, in accordance with the first ruling of the NJC since its formation to solve sectarian problems in Egypt.

Ramzy went on to say that Interior Minister Mansour al-Essawy had instructed his assistant minister to ensure speedy implementation of the decision.

Meanwhile, Medhat Qelada, president of the Coptic organizations in Europe, called on the Copts in Egypt to end their sit-in outside the Egyptian Radio and Television Union building in Maspiro.

However, he denounced the Coptic Pope's interference in the matter, pointing out that the sit-in was a political action and that the Pope had nothing to do with it, as his role is that of a spiritual leader.

Qelada pointed out that many of the demands of the Copts had already been made, including the arrest of 11 Salafi leaders involved in the Imbaba incident.

He also pointed to a decision by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to reconsider the legal status of those who had been arrested by the military of late, suggesting that 18 Copts who were arrested in association with events at Maspiro might be released.

Coptic intellectual Kamal Zakher said, “The criminal attacks against the Copts in Maspiro opens the gates of hell on a country threatened with collapse.

“The Copts will not give up their Egyptianess and will not sell their homeland, whatever the price and regardless of the bloodshed. The army is the army of Egypt, but the Salafis are calling for the formation of Mohammed’s army,” he said.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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