Loading
Coptic patriarch maintains hope amid Islamist gains
By Benjamin Mann and David Kerr
An election official (R) watches as an elderly man votes at a polling station in Old Cairo. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images News/Getty Images
An election official (R) watches as an elderly man votes at a polling station in Old Cairo. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images News/Getty Images

.- Coptic Catholic Patriarch Antonios Naguib remains hopeful for his country's future, even as Egypt's Islamic political parties seem poised to make the largest gains in parliamentary elections this week.

“We have a great hope that a better situation will come out,” Cardinal Patriarch Naguib told CNA Dec. 1, after the Nov. 28-29 vote for lower house representatives in nine of Egypt's 27 provinces.

“There are many groups that are convinced and working hard for democracy,” the Egyptian Eastern Catholic leader said, “and for a society and constitution based on human rights, and equality, and civic society.”

On Dec. 3 Egypt's military government is expected to announce the final results of the first round of voting since the departure of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. Early predictions found secular and civic-oriented parties receiving only around 17 percent of the votes.

The Muslim Brotherhood-linked Freedom and Justice Party reportedly won 40 percent of this week's votes, while the hardline Islamic Salafist movement was said to have received another 20 percent.

“We must learn to live with that,” the patriarch said, acknowledging political Islam as a force in Egypt's future.

Such parties, he predicts, will not achieve an absolute dominance.

“They are presenting themselves as the majority, (that) they will have the highest place and the highest percent of everything. But the impression is that the result will be much less than that.”

“We have much hope that after declaration of the results, there will be a good place for the democratic and civic groups and orientation.”

These groups, Patriarch Naguib said, would work to secure a place in society for Egypt's historic Coptic Christian communities.

Christians' political voice depends in part on how Egypt's new government will form after elections, and who will become prime minister. Catholics, Orthodox, and other Christians make up about 10 percent of the Muslim-majority population.

The cardinal says his hope for peaceful Christian-Muslim coexistence “also depends on the results of these elections.”

“If Islamists will be a real majority, this will be a great problem,” he said.

But “if they will have a place which is sure, but in a moderate and amicable way,” he expects “life will be much easier for everybody.”

The strictest Muslim political ideology, he pointed out, excludes even members of the same religion.

“For instance, the Salafists do not want to leave a place to the Muslim Brothers, because they say they are too moderate and Islam is not like that according to their understanding, which is not right.”

For the moment, Patriarch Naguib is grateful that Egypt's first post-Mubarak elections happened without violence, after a tumultuous run-up period in which protesters and police clashed in Cairo.

“Thanks be to God, the last two days when elections were made went quietly and well. There were some transgressions from the part of the Islamists, but with no violence.”


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
17

Liturgical Calendar

April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 13:1-15

Gospel
Date
04/17/14
04/16/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14
Second Reading:: 1 Cor 11:23-26
Gospel:: Jn 13:1-15

Homily of the Day

Jn 13:1-15

Homily
Date
04/17/14
04/16/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: