Egypt Independent

Pope Tawadros II: We reject dividing Egypt

Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church said he rejects calls for partitioning Egypt and forming a Coptic state within the country, an idea allegedly floated recently by some members of the diaspora.

In an interview with Turkish news agency Anadolu, to be published tomorrow, he called those promoting such ideas "deranged," saying that “churches and monasteries are scattered along Egypt, and the church is an integral part of Egypt that will not be divided and will remain united since the era of [Pharaoh] Mena and forever" .

That Pope added that the condition of Copts under the rule of the Islamist current “does not represent a crisis,” pointing to incidents of sectarian strife as far back as 30 years ago.

The church “is concerned over some of the articles in the Constitution because they not consistent with [the principles of] citizenship,” the Pope said of the new Constitution, which was adopted last month after a public referendum.

Article 2, which states that the principles of Sharia are the main source of legislation, “enjoys community acceptance since it has been developed in 1971,” said the pope, “but adding an article explaining Sharia makes it [the Constitution] addressed to a part of society, rather than the whole. That’s why representatives of churches withdrew from the Constituent Assembly.

The Pope said he is looking forward to the current Legislative Council adoption of the bill on houses of worship, which facilitates the process of building and restoring churches, in addition to the unified law on personal affairs of non-Muslims.

He stressed that placing Copts, women and young people at the head of the electoral lists for the next parliamentary elections would be a way to increase the number of Copts in the House of Representatives.

He also suggested allocating specific constituencies to Copts only.

On the occasion of the Orthodox Christmas on Monday, the Pope said that “Egypt needs Joy,” since it is the beginning of a new year.

He added that his sermon at the Christmas Mass Sunday will talk about the need for joy and will anticipate a better future for Egypt.