Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

Egypt: Islamists React to the Selection of the New Pope

Photo: Coptic Pope.org/Facebook
The late Shenouda III of Alexandria, the former Coptic pope.

The selection of bishop Tawadros as the new Pope of the Coptic Church on Sunday was well received by a number of Islamist leaders.

Younis Makhyoun, A Salafi party leader told Aswat Masriya that he welcomed the choice of bishop Tawadros as a Pope for the Coptic church, he expressed his hope that the new pope will take positive steps to maintain the national unity between Muslims and Christians.

"The new Pope needs to open files that had been ignored for decades, such as the second marriage for Christians", Makhyoun added.

"Tawadros will inherit a heavy legacy", said Salafi Party member Mamdouh Ismaeel. He added "I hope he succeeds in managing matters of the church in a manner that fits with the political updates since January 25" .

"The political role of the church will diminish in light of the current political where Christians participated in the ousting of the former regime" Ismaeel predicted.

Nasr Abdel Salam, chairman of Islamist Construction and Development Party asked the Pope not to provoke sectarian strife and to have the church avoid political matters.

Abdel salam stressed that the Pope must discuss some controversial issues with politicians, such as building new churches, and whether they are sufficient for the current number of Christians or not.

"The relationship of the new Pope with President Mohamed Morsi will be determined by both sides, though it depends for the most part on the new Pope", he said.

Nabil Naeem ,former leader of Al-jihad organization suggested that the new Pope should follow the lead of Pope Kyrillos VI; by limiting his role to the spiritual side alone and keeping the church away from made-up political clashes. He considered that it would be better for the church and his congregation.

He added that challenging issues will be imposed on the Pope with the rise of Political Islam, specially the Salafist Movement, and the group of "commanding virtue and forbidding vice", bearing in mind the incident which occurred in Minya two weeks back were a Salafist Movement forbade a musical concert for the Christian Youth Association.

"The new Pope will not have any role in the new constitution because this matter is agreed upon by political powers and the church has no role in this context", he said.

"The new Pope will have to prove his faith in coexisting with others, as it is not a matter that involves the Muslim side alone", said Magdi Salem former leader of Islamic Jihad organization.

Salem stressed that he doesn't support the claim that the Pope's role is only spiritual. He explained that political interest is a personal matter that can be exercised within the boundaries of law. He asked the new Pope not to stir up trouble or to make of the church a state within a state.

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InFocus

Egypt Appoints New Coptic Pope

The late Shenouda III of Alexandria, the former Coptic pope.

Bishop Tawadros has been elected as Egypt's new Coptic Christian pope, replacing the late Shenouda III. Read more »