• 17:50
  • Thursday ,05 February 2015
العربية

Coptic church warns members to keep distance from elections

By Egypt Independent

Copts and Poliltical Islam

00:02

Thursday ,05 February 2015

Coptic church warns members to keep distance from elections

The Orthodox Church has now expressed its desire to keep its distance from politics during the upcoming parliamentary elections.The Orthodox Church has now expressed its desire to keep its distance from politics during the upcoming parliamentary elections.
 
A source from the church told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Egypt’s Coptic leader Pope Tawadros II has given strict instructions not to use Coptic places of worship for any electoral campaigning of candidates. Clerics were also warned not to attend any public rallies of the candidates or parties, even the Coptic.
 
The new instructions could be an attempt to publicly reign in its overtly political stances, which include public endorsements by the pope of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the new Egyptian Constitution and other governmental policies proposed by the Sisi-led regime following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsy. Many criticized the church's political stances, saying they endanger the Coptic community by politicizing Egypt's largest religious minority.
 
Meanwhile Bishop Baula, according to the source, who is in charge of the elections issue, has sent names of those who wanted to run for elections to lists of the parties. Most of the Coptic candidates have leaned toward lists that will be formed by former PM Kamal al-Ganzoury as well as alliances of Egyptian Wafd and Egypt’s Awakening. The number of Copts who want to run for single-winner seats is very few.
 
Maged Moussa, member of the presidential council of the Egyptian Front Coalition, said they focused on selecting reputable popular Coptic figures. The front also rejected those who are different with the church. Some Coptic names were sent to Ganzoury.
 
Nader al-Seirafy, coordinator of the Copts of 1938 Association, which will for elections through the Salafi-oriented Nour party lists, said there is no electoral alliance between the party and the association, but it will run for elections through Nour party lists “for the role it played within the roadmap.”
 
Suleiman Shafiq, political researcher, said article no.244 of the constitution was a ‘setback for Copts’ for being a non-permanent article. Positive discrimination needs at least one quarter of a century. Having the number of Coptic candidates at only 24 persons is very few if compared to four or five million eligible voters.