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Coptic woes before Mubarak

Pope Shenouda III visited the presidential palace this afternoon amid much Coptic anger

Dina Ezzat, Wednesday 22 Dec 2010
Pope Shenouda III
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In a rare meeting at the Heliopolis presidential palace, President Hosni Mubarak met with Pope Shenouda III, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

The meeting comes against the backdrop of the unmasked frustration of the patriarch over the arrest of approximately 140 Copts who were taken into police custody on 24 November, following an angry demonstration against an attempt to knock down the unpermitted construction of a Church in Omraneya, Giza.

The Omraneya file is likely to be one of the files that the Pope brought to the attention of the head of the state in a meeting that exceeded an hour.

A Coptic Church source said to Ahram Online that "the woes of Copts are many; we feel persecuted."

Coptic political figures, including members of the ruling National Democratic Party, have complained about their exclusion from nomination to the recent parliamentary elections. And those nominated complain against what they qualified as deliberate rigging against them.

President Hosni Mubarak – who has deliberately avoided any confrontation with the Coptic Patriarch – recently appointed 7 Coptic members to parliament out of the 10 members he is constitutionally permitted to assign.

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