Coptic union in Europe criticizes Morsy, supports secular president

A union of Coptic organizations in Europe said Monday it would support any presidential candidate who intends to establish a civil state, regardless of his identity.

The European Union of Coptic Organizations for Human Rights said in a statement that it rejects Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsy’s vow to “stamp upon” members of former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime.

The union said those comments were full of arrogance and hatred, and called Brotherhood members the real vestiges of the Mubarak regime.

Medhat Kelada, the head of the union, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the union rejects all sorts of threats by Islamist groups against Egyptian Copts to impose a specific candidate for them to support.

“If Islamists threaten to stamp upon us before winning the elections, what would the situation look like after their candidate is elected?” he asked.

Kelada said he rejects all attempts to question the patriotism of Egyptian Copts who, unlike religious groups, never received funding from Gulf states.

He called upon Egyptians to be thoughtful when they select their new president to avoid replacing a police state with a religious one.

Ibrahim Habib, the head of the Coptic Union in England, said Copts have no choice other than a civil state, warning that a religious state would involve sectarian discrimination.

“We support a civil state, disregarding the identity of its president, and reject a religious state led by Islamists,” Habib said.

Morsy and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq are set to compete in the runoff election slated for 16 and 17 June.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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