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Orthodox Church in Egypt threatens to withdraw from Constitution Committee

February 5, 2014 at 2:11 am

The Orthodox Church representative on the so-called Committee of 50 charged with drafting Egypt’s new constitution has threatened to withdraw for the second time in protest at the drafting process. His Grace Bishop Paula said that he was surprised that the words “civil country” were dropped without consultation. “This was unacceptable,” he added, “as was the explanation of the phrase, ‘principles of Sharia’ in Article 219 without getting back to us.” That, said the bishop, was enough to justify the withdrawal of the church’s three representatives.

Bishop Paula had earlier submitted a memorandum demanding the cancellation of any explanation of the Islamic law in the draft Constitution since, he alleged, it classifies Christians as “second class citizens”.

Sources within the Egyptian Coptic Church, meanwhile, have said that Pope Tawadros II has refused demands by independent Christian activists for a 15 per cent representation for their faith in parliament and public offices. A Church Legal Committee member, Counsellor Monsif Najib Suleiman, said during a press conference at the Bar Association that having positive discrimination with a quota for minorities fuels sectarianism, which he described as the easiest way to divide a country.