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Culture minister voices rejection of military, religious rule

Egypt's Culture Minister Shaker Abdel Hamid has said he refuses to allow Egypt to become a military or theocratic state, warning that both systems have proven to be a failure.

"It is improper to elect a president who controls people's religion and tells them how to pray or fast," the minister told a seminar attended by intellctuals and literary figures on Thursday at the Art Lovers Society in Cairo.

"Egyptians are religious by nature, but their religiosity does not involve violence or oppression. Nobody can dictate religion to the Egyptian people."

"Niether the ruling military council nor Islamists represent all Egyptians," Abdel Hamid told the audience. "Egyptians are represented by all sectors, regardless of their religious or political affiliations."

The minister also said he is ready to collaborate with all intellectuals no matter their political or cultural affiliations.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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