Catholic Coptic Bishop Dismayed by Egyptian Provisional Constitution

Believes New Text Undermines Chrisitan and Jewish Communities in Egypt

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A Catholic Coptic Bishop expressed his concern and dismay regarding the provisional Constitution enacted by the interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour, which he expressed undermines the rights of non-Muslim religious communities in the country.

In an interview with Fides News Agency, Coptic Catholic Bishop Botros Fahim Awad Hanna of Minya, warned of the consequences of the provisional constitution. «We are concerned. We are ridiculed. The provisions that in the old Constitution seemed bad in the eyes of Christians are highlighted in the new text. If we do not speak now, we will not be able to say anything», he said.

The enforcement of the new constitution, which will only remain for 6 months until the transition into a new government is formed, is crucial in the roadmap enacted after Mohamed Mosi’s ouster as president.

Bishop Hanna told Fides that the text of the provisional constitution conveys a regression to the previous constitution which approved “a constitution of Islamist nature under the government monopolized by the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Of particular concern is Article one of the consisted of placing Sharia law as the basis of legislation in the country. Also missing from the text was Article 3 of the previous constitution which “guaranteed Christians and Jews the opportunity to use their own canonical principles to regulate personal issues and religious aspects of their communities.”

According to Fides News Agency, several lawyers expressed the criticisms of Christians to the provisional constitution. “Controversial considerations also came from Maspero Youth Union, according to which the Muslim Brotherhood took advantage of ‘the 26 martyrs of the Coptic revolution on 25 January 2011, while Salafis are taking advantage of 7 of the Coptic martyrs of the revolution on June 30,’” Bishops Hanna said.

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Junno Arocho Esteves

Newark, New Jersey, USA Bachelor of Science degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.

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