Egypt PM discusses Maspero clashes with Coptic Pope Shenouda III

Ahram Online , Thursday 13 Oct 2011

PM Sharaf offers his condolences and asks the pope to recommend representatives for the Houses of Worship Legalisation Commission

Sharaf and Shenouda
Egypt Prime Minister Sharaf visits Coptic Pope Shenouda III (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf visited Pope Shenouda III at St. Mark’s Cathedral on Thursday morning, where they discussed the implications of the Maspero clashes.

Sharaf presented the government's condolences to the Pope. He also asked the Pope to recommend representatives of the Egyptian Orthodox Church for the Houses of Worship Legalisation Commission that will be formed by a military decree.

The commission will work on solving legal problems regarding houses of worship, especially churches, until a unified law on the issue is enacted.

On Sunday night, a Coptic march in protest at repeated attacks on churches and the lack of a strong government response against discrimination, was ambushed, leaving at least 25 dead. Although Egypt's ruling military council formally denies they were behind the attacks, those present at the scene point the finger squarely at them.

According to news reports, Sharaf headed to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces' headquarters after visiting Pope Shenouda III.

Sharaf will today also meet the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmed El-Tayeb to ask for Al-Azhar's representatives for the commission. 

The Pope spoke about the martyrs of the Maspero clashes on Wednesday during his weekly sermon at St. Mark’s Cathedral. 

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