Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour visits Coptic cathedral in symbolic move to see Pope Tawadros II

 

Egypt's interim president on Sunday made a rare visit to see the pontiff of the nation's Orthodox Christians at St. Mark's Cathedral, the papal seat in central Cairo, according to a brief statement by the church.

The highly symbolic visit to Pope Tawadros II by Adly Mansour was made ahead of the Coptic Christmas, which falls on Tuesday. 

Mansour was installed by the military on July 3 to replace Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, removed from office after just a year in which relations between the government and the country's Christians were fraught with tension and distrust. 

Egypt's Christians account for some 10 percent of the nation's 90 million people. They are mostly members of the Orthodox church, one of Christendom's oldest. They long have complained of discrimination by the nation's Muslim majority. 

Morsi, a longtime leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, complained in a public speech just days before his ouster that leaders of the church came to see him wearing insincere smiles and accused them of being unnecessarily afraid of Islamist rule. Morsi's Islamist allies adopted sectarian rhetoric and accused Christians of being behind some of the mass protests against Morsi. 

On his part, Pope Tawadros had taken the unusual step of publicly criticizing the president, rejecting an Islamist-tilted constitution adopted in 2012 that, in his view, was discriminatory and compromised the human rights of Egyptians. 

Tawadros, enthroned in late 2012, has publicly endorsed the coup. 

In August, Morsi supporters destroyed, looted or burned dozens of churches and church-linked facilities across Egypt. Christian homes and businesses also were attacked. The wave of anti-Christian violence followed the breakup of two sit-in protests by Morsi supporters by security forces in an operation that killed hundreds. 

In a separate development, a Cairo court on Sunday convicted a prominent activist, his sister and 10 others for their part in an attack against the election headquarters of presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq in 2012. All defendants received a suspended 12-month prison sentence. 

However, the activist, Alaa Abdel-Fattah, will remain in police custody over separate charges that he broke a recently adopted law that places stringent conditions on street protests. Abdel-Fattah and his sister, Mona, are iconic figures in the youth movement that initiated the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak. 

Sunday's ruling follows last month's conviction and sentencing of three other prominent activists for breaking the same law. They were sentenced to three years in prison, but they are appealing the verdict. 

Relations between the military-backed authorities and icons of the 2011 uprising have soured, with the activists accusing the pro-military media of trying to cast that revolution as a foreign-backed plot.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before