The Anglican Bishop of Egypt reports on the “very encouraging” meeting of the leaders of the country’s ChristianChurches with the new President of this Arab Republic GERARD O'CONNELL-ROME -When the new President of Egypt, Mohammed Mursi,
met the leaders of all the ChristianChurches in the country, on June 27, “he assured us that Christians are equal citizens in Egypt and it is his duty to make sure that every citizen receives his or her rights”, the Anglican Bishop of Egypt said.
“I came away very encouraged”, the bishop - Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis, stated in a letter to his friends after the event. By convening the meeting, he said, Mursi wanted “to assure Christians that he will be the President of all Egyptians”
He revealed that he had received a phone call from the Presidential Palace, June 26, inviting him to meet the new President on the following day. The President had also invited the heads of the other Christian denominations in the country too to the same meeting.
Christians count for some 10% of Egypt’s population of over 80 million people, the overwhelming majority of whom are Muslim. There are many Christian denominations in the country: Orthodox, Coptic Evangelicals, Anglicans, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, and Coptic Catholics - Melkites, Maronites, Syrian, Armenian, Chaldean and Latins.
“We were received with a warm welcome from the President” and “each one of us gave congratulations to the President”, the Anglican bishop said,
President Mursi “assured us that Christians are equal citizens in Egypt and it is his duty to make sure that every citizen receives his or her rights”, he stated.
Furthermore, he said, the President “told us stories from the history of Islam of how Muslim leaders were very keen to ensure the right of citizenship of all Christians in Egypt”.
For his part, the Anglican leader assured the President of his Church’s prayers for him and then went on to ask him “to make the topic of “National Unity” a priority.” He explained that by “National Unity”, he meant “equality between Christians and Muslims and applying the rule of law on all citizens.”
He revealed that President Mursi “immediately responded that there were attempts to disrupt this National Unity in the past and create a strained relation between Christians and Muslims”, and “promised to do his best to ensure the rights of Christians, especially in regard to building churches.”
The Anglican bishop also asked the President “to consider attending one of the meetings of “Beit el Aila” the House of the Family, which is an initiative of the Grand Imam to bring Christian and Muslims leaders together to discuss ways to enhance the religious harmony.” He reported that the President “immediately agreed to host one of these meetings.”
Later, Bishop Mounner shared this good news with the Grand Imam who, he said, “was happy to hear that the President will give a serious attention to “Beit el Aila.”
“I came out of the thirty-five minute meeting very encouraged. I must say that this initiative of the President carries in itself the desire to assure Christians that he will be the President of all Egyptians”, the Anglican bishop concluded.