Coptic Catholic Leader Expresses High Hopes For New Egyptian President

Addresses Open letter to President-Elect Mohammed Mursi

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ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, JUNE 26, 2012 ( In an open letter to the recently elected president of Egypt, the administrator of the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate of Alexandria expressed confidence in the Islamic leader’s willingness to work with all sections of society for the common good. 

Bishop Kyrillos William, who is standing in for Cardinal Patriarch Antonios Naguib, incapacitated by a stroke last year, describes in his letter to President Mohammed Mursi his hopes of the country’s “renaissance” with the guarantee of security, peace and social justice.

Writing on behalf of the Coptic Catholic Church, which numbers 250,000 in Egypt, Bishop William tells Mursi: “We are confident that, with the help of the Almighty, and with your wisdom, you will be able to work for the best interests of the nation and its people…”

In the letter, a copy of which was published by Aid to the Church in Need on Monday evening, Bishop William goes on to highlight extracts from President-Elect Mursi’s post-election victory speech last Sunday.

Bishop William stresses Mursi’s apparent “willingness to collaborate with qualified people and heads of all groups and sectors…” 

“We pray that the Lord gives you success in the search for … the development of a modern, democratic, civil state, a state that respects the rights and freedoms of all and guarantees security, peace and social justice,” he said. 

Concluding with a message directed at the Egyptian people, he calls on all sections of society to reconcile and pull together to build a new country. The bishop, who until Patriarch Naguib’s illness was Bishop of Assiut, Upper Egypt, writes: “We wish that Egyptians forget their differences … and pull together with one heart for the good of the country … for Egypt needs the effort, experience, ideas and strength of all her children to bring about its renaissance.”

Bishop William’s comments echo those made yesterday by fellow Coptic Catholic Bishop Joannes Zakaria of Luxor who said that he was reassured by Mursi’s post-election address, particularly its references to cooperation with Christians and other minorities.

Senior clergy have in the past expressed concerns about the rise of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which was oppressed by former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, and which has been variously described as militant, intolerant and Islamist.

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