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President-elect Morsi receives acting pope of Egypt's Coptic Church

New Islamist president-elect receives acting head of Coptic Church, says he will not countenance 'condescension' to Egypt's Coptic-Christian community

Ahram Online, Tuesday 26 Jun 2012
Morsi and pope
President-elect Mohammed Morsi, shakes hands with a representative of the Coptic church,with Egypt's acting Pope Bishop Bakhomious standing in the background, during a visit on Tuesday(Photo: AP)
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Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's new Islamist president-elect, received a delegation on Tuesday from Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, including acting pope Anba Bakhomious.

During the meeting, held to congratulate Morsi on his recent electoral victory, Bakhomious told the president-elect that his assumption of the country's highest office was "a comfort to all Egyptians."

Morsi, for his part, stressed to Bakhomious that he would not allow anyone to "condescend" to Egypt's Coptic-Christians in the latter's own country. Morsi also told Bakhomious that he would maintain close contacts with the Coptic Church and community.

Observers have waited with bated breath to see how Egypt's new Islamist head of state would deal with the sensitive issue of Coptic rights. Earlier on Tuesday, Morsi campaign spokesman Yasser Ali announced that the president-elect would be appointing two vice presidents, one a Coptic-Christian and the other a woman.

Bakhomious assumed the position of acting pope of Egypt's Coptic Church following the death in March of his long-serving predecessor, Pope Shenouda III. He is expected to remain in the post until a new pope is chosen.  

Morsi narrowly won Egypt's 16/17 June presidential runoff against Ahmed Shafiq, ousted president Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister.

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