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US ambassador visits Pope

Nader Shukry - Michael Victor

18 Jun 2013 4:45 pm

Following a visit to Pope Tawadros II at the Papal residence at St Mark’s in Abassiya, Cairo, yesterday, the US Ambassador to Cairo Anne Patterson said that the Church plays a significant role in Egypt

Following a visit to Pope Tawadros II at the Papal residence at St Mark’s in Abassiya, Cairo, yesterday, the US Ambassador to Cairo Anne Patterson said that the Church plays a significant role in Egypt. Patterson said that she discussed with the Coptic Orthodox Pope several topics such as the rights of the Copts and freedoms in Egypt. She expressed the wish of the US administration to cooperate more with the ‘large’ Coptic community in the US.
Pope Tawadros said the Church was not entitled to impose any political views on its congregation, and that Copts were free to adopt whichever political stances they believed in independently of any pressure form the Church.
Copts unhappy about visit
The visit, news of which were made public only two hours before it took place, aroused the anger of Coptic activist and movements. They insisted that the US ambassador was an ‘unwelcome visitor’ as long as the US administration persisted in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and radical Islamist movements.
“With all our due respects to Pope Tawadros who as a clergy man has his door to everyone, we would have prevented Patterson from setting foot in the Cathedral grounds had we known of her visit in due time,” Andrawus Eweida, coordinator of the Maspero Youth Union (MYU) told Watani. 
Eweida stressed that the MYU rejected the notorious US meddling in Egyptian local affairs.
Amir Ayad, member of the Coptic Youth Front said that the US Ambassador should not attempt to manipulate the Church, pointing out that Copts are part and parcel of the Egyptian nation and are against the US policy which supports the MB. He said that the US should change its policy and support Egyptians in their demand to determine their destiny, instead of supporting “a dictator who uses Hamas terrorists against his own people.” 
Both Eweida and Ayad said that, along with other patriotic Egyptians, Copts would take to the streets on 30 June to topple Mursi. 
Eweida insisted that the attempt to involve the Church in the decision of Copts to participate, or refrain from participating, in the 30 June protests was unacceptable, since the Church as a religious institution has no say over Copts when it comes to politics.
Church has nothing to do with politics
In the evening, Pope Tawadros confirmed the same view in an interview with the talk show anchoress Mona al-Shazly on MBC satellite channel. The Pope highlighted that the Church does not look to engage in any political life. He stressed that the Church’s role is spiritual and that she teaches and guides her children, rather than manipulate them and control their opinion and their freedom to national expression. “Copts are children of the nation and they daily activities are in common with their Muslim fellow citizens,” the Pope said, confirming that the Church will not prevent, or push, any Copt to participate in the 30 June demonstrations. When Shazli asked him what he thought about earlier declarations by the Islamist Assem al-Maged in which he flagrantly threatened Christians if they take to the streets on 30 June, Pope Tawadros said that some voices are just not worth bothering about.
Watani Interantional
18 June 2013


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