Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

Egypt's Pope - Rise of Islamists Does Not Intimidate Us

Egypt's new Orthodox Pope Tawadros II said that he is not afraid of the rise of Islamists in Egypt.

He added that coordinating the relationship between all segments of society is the responsibility of the state, urging the government to listen to the people. Tawdros II, Egypt's 118th Coptic Pope, succeeded Pope Shenouda III who died in March.

"The rise of Islamic Movements does not bother or intimidate us", Tawdros II said in an interview published by a Kuwaiti newspaper.

"From our part, we work with love and respect, we reject violence and of course reject the idea of attacks on property, people, lives and homes", he commented on the tension between Copts and Islamic movements.

He added that there are real issues that the Christian minority faces, arguing that certain groups fabricate false tension to divert the Copts' attention from the constitution.

"The church has three representatives in the constituent assembly who are involved in the discussions. We hope for a constitution that applies the concept of citizenship", the new pope said.

On the appointment of a Coptic Christian as a presidential advisor, the pope said, "Samir Morcos is a respected figure but that does not stop us from questioning why he was chosen precisely. Was he appointed just to complete the image with the presence of a Christian and a woman? If that is the case, it is unacceptable and meaningless. Is he employed to address the Coptic cause? He himself announced that this is not his role."

He also denounced the participation of some priests and monks in demonstrations.

"It is completely unacceptable, a priest leaves matters of the world willingly, if he participates in demonstrations, how will people believe that he is a priest? When a priest takes such an action he brings upon himself suspension and deprivation", he said.

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