NY Times: Egypt’s Copts Choose New Pope- Decide To Build Alliances With Islam

According to The New York Times, the newly elected Coptic Pope, former Bishop Tawadros, has vowed to shun politics and is urging “the church to go back and live consistently within the spiritual boundaries because this is its main work, spiritual work,”. 

During interviews, Tawadros speaks of “rearranging the house” and “pushing new blood’. He has even gone so far as announcing that one of his main priorities is “living with our brothers, the Muslims” and “the responsibility of preserving our shared life.”

In step with Tawadros, who will be installed later this month, members of the Coptic faithful have “concluded that Christians would have to build alliances with Muslims who shared their goal of nonsectarian citizenship.”

More from The Times:

Copts, often estimated to make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 80 million people, trace their roots here to centuries before the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. They consider St. Mark their first pope; Tawadros II will be the 118th. In some ways, they are now at the spearhead of a challenge confronting Christian minorities across the region amid the tumult of the Arab Spring. In Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere, Christian minorities had made peace with authoritarian rulers in the hope of protection from the Muslim majorities. But now the old bargains have broken, leaving Christians to fend for themselves.

In Egypt, the revolution last year coincided with by far the deadliest 12 months of sectarian violence in decades, including the bombing of an Alexandria church weeks before the revolt, the destruction of at least three churches in sectarian feuds, and the killing of about two dozen Coptic demonstrators by Egyptian soldiers squashing a protest — the single bloodiest episode of sectarian violence in at least half a century.

Known as the Maspero massacre after a nearby television building, the slaughter elicited attempts by top generals to blame the Copts and scant sympathy from the main Islamist groups, crystallizing Coptic anxieties.

It also galvanized one of the most active lay Coptic groups, the Maspero Youth Union. When Pope Shenouda overlooked the massacre and thanked the Egyptian military at a Christmas service, members of the youth union jeered — a breathtaking gesture of defiance in the annals of church history.

“Before we had no reaction to sectarian violence,” said Beshoy Tamry, 24, a member of the group. “Now we have more resistance.”

Much less sectarian violence and no deaths have occurred this year, but that has not diminished the Coptic worries, and neither have the pledges of Islamist politicians to protect the Christian minority. “Copts are drowning in fear,” said Wael Eskandar, a Coptic journalist and blogger. Read the entire article here



I am not a Copt and I don’t live in Egypt, but history and current events tell me that an alliance of this type can only end in a horrific tragedy. One of a long and bloody list that is 1400 years in the making.


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