Shenouda and military council chief discuss proposed law on places of worship

The head of the ruling military council in Egypt, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, met with Pope Shenouda on Sunday to discuss the unified draft law on places of worship, according to a church source.

The three Egyptian churches – Coptic Orthodox, Catholic and Anglican – have expressed reservations about the draft law proposed by the government earlier this month. It has also been rejected by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR).

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said the meeting was attended by Sami Anan, the armed forces chief of staff, and Mourad Mowafy, head of the Egyptian intelligence service.

The source added that other issues were also discussed in the meeting, including the economic and political situation, the right of  Egyptian expatriates to vote in elections, and the law criminalizing discrimination, which Prime Minister Essam Sharaf had promised to issue in order to combat sectarian strife between Muslims and Copts, which erupts from time to time.

It also said Tantawi reassured the pope that the military council would not allow sectarian strife in future, as there is no difference between Christians and Muslims, and that national unity is a line not to be crossed.

Tantawi recently dispatched a representative to the Cleveland Clinic, USA, where the pope was being treated, and gave him the shield of the military council.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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