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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Egypt’s Coptic Christians boycott constitutional panel over Islamist influence

The Arab Spring has led to a dismantling of the Egyptian government and fears over minority rights in the Middle Eastern nation. Shortly after the initial protests that led to former President Hosni Mubarak ouster, Coptic Christians had deadly run-ins with military leaders.

Recently, The Blaze highlighted the ongoing assault against Christians in detail. Now, with Islamists taking control of the Egyptian parliament and with an impending presidential election, the Coptic Orthodox church is taking a stand.

(Related: Muslim Brotherhood Reverses Course, Will Run Its Own Candidate for President in Egypt)

According to AFP, the church will boycott an Islamist-dominated panel that has been tasked with putting together the nation’s future constitution. The current commission has 100 members who were selected by the parliament to examine the issue. The parliament, of course, is predominantly made up of Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists.

Rather than keeping its two church members on the committee, the Holy Synod has decided, unanimously, to remove them from the discussions. According to a report from the MENA news agency, the church believes that it’s “inappropriate to continue to be represented given the reservations of various political forces on how the constitutional commission was composed.”

These withdrawals come as some individuals are claiming that they are being used, AFP reports, as “collateral” for Islamists seeking to infuse the new constitution with their political ideology. The Christians’ decision comes following Pope Shenouda III’s death. Shenouda, the leader of the Coptic church, often acted to protect the religious minority.

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