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Coptic Christian defends accepting role on Egypt presidential advisory team

Samir Morcos, a Coptic Christian scholar and writer, rejects criticism that his position on President Morsi's advisory team is merely symbolic

Ahram Online, Tuesday 28 Aug 2012
Morcus
Samir Morcus, newly-appointed president's assistant (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Egypt's newly appointed presidential assistant, Samir Morcos, has denied the position is symbolic and designed to fill a quota of Coptic Christians on Mohamed Morsi's advisory team.

Morcos, who previously headed the Masry Foundation for Citizenship and Dialogue, said he had been asked to advise the president on the democratic transition and state modernisation.

"Either I make a difference or I leave," he added.

Four  assistants and 17 advisors, including three Coptic Christians, were appointed to the president's advisory team on Monday.

Freedom and Justice Party Vice President Rafiq Habib was appointed as a consultant to the president.

Meanwhile, the Civil Rights for Christians Movement (CRCM) expressed its discontent with the appointments, claiming they did not reflect the diversity of Egyptian society because most of them were affiliated with the Islamic current.

The team includes six members of the Muslim Brotherhood, three members of the Salafist Nour Party, and Islamist thinker Selim El-Awa.

"President Mohamed Morsi has failed to fulfil his promise to appoint three vice presidents, including one Copt, a woman and a young person. He only appointed a Christian as his assistant after Salafists objected to him being made vice president," said a CRCM statement on Tuesday.

President Morsi appointed reformist Judge Mahmoud Mekki as vice president on 12 August. However, presidential sources at the time said more vice presidents could be appointed.

Co-founder of the Kefaya movement George Ishak expressed disappointment that no members of the opposition had been appointed to the president's advisory team.

"Having figures from the opposition was important to reflect the opposition's views on different issues," said Ishak.

Ishak praised the inclusion of Morcos and Mekki but said the appointments should be made more transparently.

"I personally don't understand the different role of the presidential team and the advisory team," added Ishak.

However, he said he was glad the president's assistants were now known.

"We can now assess them and tell them when they score or fail," said Ishak.

Earlier in August, leftist activists Wael Khalil and co-founder of the April 6 Youth movement Ahmed Maher turned down positions on the presidential team as they wanted to remain independent.

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Javed Nawaz
29-08-2012 04:38am
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A POSITIVE MOVE
To co-opt qualified people like Samir Morcus as Presidential Advisors / Assistants from non-Ikhwan groups including Coptic Christians is a move in the right direction and needs to be appreciated. CopticS being Egyptians have every right to serve the country and contribute in framing policies. The main task before the Morsi government is the welfare of citizens, alleviation of poverty, creation of more jobs and above all fighting corruption. Every democracy loving person in the world must support Morsi & his government to make Egypt a stronger nation with better living conditions.
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Daniella
28-08-2012 10:39pm
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making a difference
again: missed chance for Wael Khalil and Ahmed Maher, they want to "remain independent" which means they dont understand the concept of democracy, demos cratein, the people reign. Democracy is a very tricky system, it only works well if good people reign. They choose to make the bad people reign, so they can stay independent, talking instead of acting. There might not be a next time. Missed chance, underestimating the power of one or two to make a difference!
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