The Nour Salafist party announced Sunday it had welcomed the Copts 38 Initiative group to join with it in an upcoming parliamentary coalition.
However, the deputy head of the Nour Party, Ashraf Sabet, said in an interview on Al-Hayat television that none of the Copts had requested to join the party in the upcoming elections. President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced Sunday that the parliamentary election would begin before July 18.
The general coordinator of the Copts 38 Initiative, Nader al-Serfy, said they would not mind joining Nour, and said it is a patriotic party and had a major role during June 30, Al-Shorouq reported.
Copts 38 was established in 2011 to demand a change in the Church’s divorce laws, which restrict divorce to cases of adultery. Copts 38 called for the re-implementation of 1938 bylaws that permitted Coptic Christians to obtain a divorce under nine conditions.
Serfy added that the group was in constant contact with the Nour Party—especially with spokesperson Nader Bakar—during the work of the constitutional general assembly, but in the months since, 38 Copts announced the end of its coordination with any political party.
He said he appreciates the “patriotic” role of the Nour Party, but does not foresee joining it. He slammed some Copts for criticizing Nour, said that the party does not antagonize the Church and that they had proven this by welcoming Coptic participation in the Parliament.
Sabet for his part said Nour had no problem coexisting with Copts, and said women too were welcome to join its coalition.
Egyptian Union for Human Rights head and Coptic activist Naguib Gobrail criticized the potential Copts 38 and Nour team-up, telling The Cairo Post Monday that the aim of the Copts 38 Initiative was to press the church to change its stance and achieve their “illegal demands.”
Gobrail said he filed a lawsuit against the Nour Party to freeze its activities and to ban it from participating in the parliament. The first trial session of his lawsuit is on July 12.
He asked “Why are they joining the Nour Party now? Why did they not join them in the last parliament?”