Arab West Report Middle East Published Articles

Safwat al-Baiady: Negotiating Religion in the Constitutional Committee

Safwat al-Baiady
Safwat al-Baiady

From my recent article at Arab West Report, continuing a series of interviews with members of Egypt’s constitutional Committee of Fifty. Safwat al-Baiady is the head of the Protestant Churches of Egypt, and lent his experience in how the committee’s religious members came to agreement on contentious articles. Here is his perspective on Article 3, giving Christians and Jews the right to refer to their religious laws in personal affairs and religious organization:

But one part of society that was not represented by the committee, Bayādī stated, were the Baha’īs. He personally argued that Article 3, guaranteeing Christians and Jews the right to govern themselves according to their own religious laws, should be phrased instead for ‘non-Muslims’. This wording won the majority in the ‘fundamentals of the state’ subcommittee on which he served, with ten votes for and only four against – the representatives of the Azhar and the Salafi Nour Party.

But when the subcommittee sent the article to the writing committee, it came back changed. Bayādī said the Azhar’s Muhammad Abd al-Salam, consultant for the Grand Imam Ahmad al-Tayyib, led the charge against this wording. Bayādī said he was very mad, and told the committee their job was in wording, not to change the meaning of the article and throw the majority outside. They responded they were also members of the full committee and had the right to their own ideas. In the end, Bayādī admitted that perhaps the change was wise, as it would not be good to upset the religious elements in society who look to the Azhar and Salafi scholars. After all, they want people to vote for the constitution.

In the committee, Bayādī said, everyone had to compromise, getting something and leaving something. This is the way to resolve differences, and he described an article the church left behind. Having already received a number of useful articles, which will be described below, Bishop Antonious of the Coptic Catholic Church proposed an article granting approval and independence to the Egyptian Council of Churches. Formed after the revolution, the council had been operating but had no official recognition. Majority approval was easy in the subcommittee, but after submission to the writing committee it was removed. Bayādī said that no one opposed early on because it did not concern them as non-Christians. But upon further deliberation committee members felt they had already received enough attention in the constitution. ‘Amr Mūsa pledged his help to get the president to give his official approval, which pleased Bayādī. But what the president gives he can take away, and if in the constitution it would be harder to revoke.

Baiady also described the battle to remove the old Article 219 interpreting sharia law, as well as the article assigning a specific age of childhood. He gives a grammar lesson in Article 64 on establishing places of worship, and describes the shenanigans over securing ‘appropriate representation’ for Christians in the coming parliament. Here is an excerpt on the fight over the term ‘civil’, and to what it should apply:

The final controversy Bayādī described came at the time of the vote itself. The preamble of the constitution declared Egypt to be a modern democratic state with civil governance. This last phrase – civil governance – was very difficult to achieve, and even Bishop Bula, to Bayādī’s surprise and anger, said he did not care for the word ‘civil’. The Salafīs in chief opposed this designation, and the Grand Mufti found the proper compromise when he supported ‘civil governance’. Everyone clapped, and the matter was over.

Or so it seemed. At the final vote Mūsá read ‘civil government’. Muna Dhū al-Fukkār, who was elected as his assistant, spoke out to correct and help him. But the vote took place and passed. According to the official transcript, of which he showed a copy, Mūsá afterwards stated that he misspoke and meant ‘governance’. But the next day, at a dinner function with the army, they received the official copy of the constitution with the words ‘civil government’. Bishop Antonious especially was very upset, saying the text was changed. Some say it doesn’t matter, Bayādī related, for government can mean the whole system of government and not just the ministers. In any case, he does not want to spoil the whole bouquet because of the insertion of one thorn, but he does believe it was meant to be changed, and not simply a mistake, due to opposition to what the mufti proposed.

For this and more, please click here to read the full report at Arab West Report.

Arab West Report Middle East Published Articles

Liberal Views on the Egyptian Constitution

The word in Arabic, dostour, means constitution
The word in Arabic, dostour, means constitution

From a recent article on Arab West Report, to which I contributed a section reporting from a conference held by Egyptian liberals on the ideal constitution. Somewhat surprisingly, there was a good deal of sentiment against the military council:

Essam al-Din Hassan next spoke about the principle of freedom and the encroachments against it in negotiations over the new constitution. One feature of these negotiations is the efforts of the Ministry of Defense and al-Azhar to entrench their independence from the rest of the state. In terms of the military, standing apart from the rest of the executive authority – essentially two heads of state – would be terrible for the civil state and allow Egypt to again become a military, police state.

It is not unreasonable to think, he stated, that the military might trade this status with religious forces that are also looking for gains in the constitution, especially the Salafīs. They are arguing to keep Article 219 somewhere in the text, providing a conservative, Sunni-specific interpretation to the clause in Article 2 saying sharia is the primary source of legislation. But even Article 2, he argued, designating a religion for the state, has no place in a civil state. Article 3, similarly, guaranteeing special religious rights for the Copts, only reinforces the idea of a religious state. To curb such sectarian advances, firm consensus must be gathered in the committee of fifty which is rewriting the Constitution, so that civil state principles are protected, even from the tools of democracy which might undo them.

Ahmad Raghib spoke less about the necessary constitutional provisions for human dignity than the danger of their constant undermining. He noted that previous Egyptian constitutions, such as the 1971 version which governed up until the January 25 Revolution, provided guarantees for human dignity. This did not, however, stop the state from ignoring them, or even trampling upon them as was visible in the police torture cases against Khalid Saeed and Ahmad Bilal.

Raghib expanded Hassan’s warning about the military saying most institutions of state are seeking to enshrine their independence in the Constitution. This is expressly against the will of the people, however, who should have their elected officials administratively responsible for all these institutions. Unfortunately, in the previous Constitution, the Muslim Brotherhood collaborated with these institutions to preserve Mubarak’s state and keep it and the military council immune from their crimes. He closed with the expectation that a third wave of the Revolution might be necessary to put things right and secure a true modern civil constitution.

Please click here to read the full article at Arab West Report, which contains further reporting from the conference as well as observations from an interview with Rev. Safwat al-Baiady, president of the Protestant churches of Egypt and a member in the constitutional committee.

Lapido Media Middle East Published Articles

Proposed Constitution Opens Door to an Islamic State

Ibrahim Eid, Students for Sharia
Ibrahim Eid, Students for Sharia

The proposed Egyptian constitution offers something to everyone, and its supporters know how to address the audience.

Article 3 gives Christians and Jews the right to govern their communities according to the internal rules of their religion. Articles 31-80 give liberally-minded citizens assurances on a litany of basic rights, including expression, belief, education, and even playing sports.

Less heard in the West, however, is the local message: articles designed for conservative Salafi Muslims may undermine every other guarantee.

‘This constitution has restrictions [on rights and freedoms] that have never been included in any Egyptian constitution before,’ said Sheikh Yasser al-Burhami, Egypt’s leading Salafi and founder of the Salafi Call, on a YouTube video attempting to convince his community to vote for a document many of them find not restrictive enough.

Ibrahim Eid is another leading spokesman for those who seek to return Egypt to the ancestral ways and beliefs of Arabia. An ophthalmologist and media coordinator for Students of Sharia, a Salafi association, he told Lapido: ‘There are two aspects to this constitution: that which designs a political system, and that which legitimizes it. I reject its legitimacy completely’.

Sovereignty belongs to God alone, he says.

Article 5 is therefore an anathema.  It states: ‘Sovereignty is for the people alone and they are the source of authority. The people shall exercise and protect this sovereignty, and safeguard national unity in the manner specified in the Constitution.’

‘Is it reasonable to justify God’s law by a constitution, or to submit it to a referendum? Not at all!’ he said.

‘But we agree to its political necessity for the sake of the stability of the nation.

‘Let’s move through this crisis, elect a new parliament, and then the first thing they will do is change the defective articles.’

Bishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt’s Episcopal (Anglican) Church finds defective articles as well, but of the opposite kind.

‘This constitution does not lead to social cohesion, but to division,’ he told Lapido Media, as preliminary results of the first round referendum suggested 43 per cent of the population reject it. ‘It does not ensure the freedom of the minority to the extent Egypt was expecting.

‘But it ensures the rule of the majority and has many questionable, vague expressions.’

These are the very expressions Burhami celebrates, witnessed chiefly in the dispute over Article 2, defining the identity of the Egyptian state.

In the previous constitution, Article 2 declared the ‘principles’ of Sharia law to be the primary source of legislation. Egypt’s High Constitutional Court consistently interpreted the word ‘principles’ in a general fashion, avoiding direct reference to specific Islamic laws.

Liberal members of the 100-person Islamist-dominated committee writing the constitution were able to fend off Salafi demands to remove the word ‘principles’ and force legislation toward Sharia alone.

But to satisfy the Salafis, the committee added Article 219, to interpret ‘principles’ in accordance with traditional Islamic jurisprudence. Furthermore, Article 4 assigns an unelected body of Islamic scholars the right of consultation on legislation.

Burhami’s chief pride, however, is in Article 81, concluding the extended section on rights and freedoms. It seeks an elusive compromise.

‘No law that regulates the practice of the rights and freedoms shall include what would constrain their essence,’ reads the text. But what follows defines this essence:

‘Such rights and freedoms shall be practised in a manner not conflicting with the principles pertaining to state and society included in Part One of this constitution.’

Part One however includes Article 2 which is defined by Article 219, subjecting all freedom to Islamic Sharia.

Gamal Nassar, Freedom and Justice Party
Gamal Nassar, Freedom and Justice Party

‘What is the problem with being an Islamic state? Egypt is Islamic and there is nothing else to be said,’ the Muslim Brotherhood’s Gamal Nassar tells Lapido.

Nassar is a founding member of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. He believes the discussion of these details ignores the agreement on 90 percent of the constitution.

‘No one, even among the liberals, opposes the Sharia. This is at heart a political struggle,’ he said.

‘All freedoms must be regulated and not go against the nature of Egyptian society, which is Muslim.’

Nassar sees the nature of the politics in the behaviour of the church, which resigned from the constitution writing committee.

He accuses church representatives of negotiating the agreement of all articles, including Article 219, and then withdrawing suddenly to cause controversy and discredit the committee’s work.

Revd. Safwat el-Baiady, president of the Protestant Churches of Egypt and one of these official representatives, disagrees – and strongly. He sees a different type of politics at play.

‘This article [219] was added late and not discussed in any sub-committee,’ he told Lapido Media. ‘Because of its controversy it was postponed until the end, and dealt with only in the concluding consensus committee.’

The problem with this he said was that this consensus committee was no consensus at all, but a small number of members handpicked by the assembly head. It included a Christian, but no official members of the church.

Church representatives, and liberal Muslim members, resigned in protest en masse only once it dawned on them that Article 219 and other controversial aspects were to be presented as if it were the will of the entire body – which was not the case.

A constitution is ideally built on consensus, but it is fleshed out though law. Egypt’s constitution, if it passes, gives something to everyone.

The gift to Salafis, offered freely by the Muslim Brotherhood, is an open door to Sharia law and the conformity of legislation to it.

Egypt’s future freedoms hinge on the make-up of the next parliament, tasked with the contentious business of interpretation.

Note: The 2011 Egyptian parliament, dissolved by court order, was led by the Muslim Brotherhood-led Democratic Alliance, claiming 45 per cent of 498 seats. The Islamist Bloc, led by the Salafi Nour Party, finished second with a quarter (25 per cent) of seats. Two liberal parties received roughly 7 per cent each. Two Copts were elected to parliament, and of the ten members appointed by the then-ruling military council, five were Copts.

Article 229 of the proposed constitution declares procedures for electing the new parliament will begin no less than 60 days after it is ratified, possibly this weekend, following the second referendum vote.

This article was first published on Lapido Media.

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Christianity Today Middle East Published Articles

What Egypt’s Christians Think of Hastily Completed Constitution

Christian Constitution

From my recent article on Christianity Today:

Addressing the nation in a televised interview Thursday, President Mohamed Morsi welcomed the sudden completion of Egypt’s draft constitution after months of gridlock.

Amid public outcry against his decision last week to grant himself immunity from judicial review, Morsi praised the constitution’s speedy completion as a necessary step in order to end the nation’s transition to democracy and reestablish separate executive, legislative, and judicial authority.

He also dismissed questions about the legitimacy of the document, especially given the withdrawal of Christian and many liberal members of the assembly drafting it.

“The withdrawal of the church from the constitutional assembly is nothing to worry about,” Morsi said. “It’s important to me that they be part of it, but not to worry.”

The article features the voice of Rev. Safwat el-Baiady, president of the Protestant Churches of Egypt, one of the church’s official representatives who withdrew from the constitutional assembly. His perspective is given on the more controversial articles, including the role of sharia law, the Azhar, and society in determining both law and social morality.

Please click here to finish reading at Christianity Today.

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Egypt Erupts Again: Christians Resist Muslim Brotherhood President’s Power Grab

Cross and Quran Held Aloft at Tahrir

From my new article on Christianity Today:

The recent deaths of two teenagers best communicate the situation in Egypt today.

Gaber Saleh, a 16-year-old revolutionary activist, was killed in confrontations with police in Tahrir Square last Sunday. That same day, Islam Massoud, a 15-year-old Muslim Brotherhood member, was killed in clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi in Damanhour, a city in the Nile Delta.

The deaths reveal a nation deeply divided by the decision of Morsi last week to appropriate all governing authority until a new Egyptian constitution is completed and a new parliament elected. Protests have broken out throughout the nation; Tahrir Square has once again filled to capacity. Many of Egypt’s judges have decried the attack on their independence, with the two highest appellate courts joining others in a nationwide strike.

The nation’s Christians are firmly in the opposition camp.

At least officially, Egypt’s Christians are not calling to depose Morsy:

“This is a national issue, not a Christian one,” says Safwat el-Baiady, president of the Protestant Churches of Egypt and a former member of the constitutional assembly.

“As Christians, we are not calling for the downfall of the president. And we do not fight against the authorities. As a church, we ask only for a suitable constitution for Christians and Muslims.

“But normal people have the right to be in the squares.”

Some, if not many, might hope for it, but the outrage is directed primarily at his constitutional declaration. It has led a vice president to resign from his administration:

Morsi’s opposition is not just in the street. Samir Marcos, Morsi’s vice president for democratic transition and the most prominent Coptic member of his administration, has resigned.

“I refuse to remain [in my position],” he told the international Arab newspaper Asharq Alawsat, “in light of this presidential decision that is crippling to the democratic transition process … and which is contrary to what I am trying to achieve through my position.”

One idea floated now is that his powers could be submitted to a referendum, or yield to a referendum on a rushed constitution:

This might also create a scenario where a weary public votes “Yes” in the constitutional referendum to follow, simply to end the deadlock and restore stability. In the process, liberals and Christians fear, the public would accept a flawed and religiously tinted constitution.

Of course, either way the people vote, a deadlock might continue. The Muslim Brotherhood will hold a rally on Saturday to support the president, whereas they previously canceled a competing protest out of fear for “bloodshed.”

“In order to save Egypt from going back to square one—dropping into chaos and nearly civil war—we have to think of a compromise,” said Sidhom. “But I fail to see how or where.”

Please click here to read the whole article at Christianity Today.

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Egyptian Churches Give Up on Helping Create New Constitution

From my new article on Christianity Today:

In another blow to Egypt’s democratic transition, representatives of the Muslim nation’s three main Christian bodies jointly decided to end their participation in writing a new constitution.

“The constitution … in its current form does not meet the desired national consensus and does not reflect the pluralistic identity of Egypt,” said Bishop Pachomious, acting patriarch for the Coptic Orthodox Church. The announcement was made one day before Pope Tawadros II assumed the papal throne of St. Mark, the gospel writer.

A primary complaint is over the role of shari’ah. Article Two of Egypt’s 1971 constitution, as well as the current draft of the new constitution, enshrines the “principles” of shari’ah to be the primary source of legislation. Pope Tawadros does not dispute the article as currently defined—including its designation of Islam as the religion of the state. But all churches reject its expansion.

“They left Article Two as is, but then added another article defining the principles of shari’ah.”

Please click here to continue reading at Christianity Today.

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Statement of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Leaders of the Evangelical Church in Egypt

At head of table: Rev. Bayadi (L) and Dr. Badie (R)

This text is transcribed from documents received from the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services, headed by Dr. Andrea Zaki, a chief participant in this meeting.

The text reads:

Based on a welcoming letter from Dr. Rev. Safwat al-Bayadi, President of the Protestant Community of Egypt and Dr. Rev. Andrea Zaki, Vice-President, sent to the General Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, which addressed some public opinion issues at this critical stage in Egyptian history after the January 25th Revolution and gained the attention of the Guidance Office of the Muslim Brotherhood, and based on the two parties’ communication, the General Guide called for a meeting to gather the leaders of the evangelical church and the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. The meeting took place on February 28, 2012, at the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood. The General Guide has agreed to visit the headquarters of the evangelical church upon invitation.

The participants consented on the importance of the current historical moment Egypt is going through after the revolution, which requires everyone to take social and historical responsibility to advance the country. The participants emphasized that Egypt’s future depends on community cohesion and unity, and stressed on the basic values of the Egyptian society that represent its social and cultural identity and brings its citizens together.

The participants agreed on the following:

  • The sons of the country are all partners in one destiny and one future.
  • The joint struggle of all Egyptians of all segments of society, that was manifest in the January Revolution, represents the cornerstone of societal unity; the struggle reflects that full citizenship, based on equality, is the foundation of this society.
  • All sons of the country have the same rights and responsibilities as the constitution states. Equality among all citizens constructs societal unity; efficiency is the only criterion to hold a public position; and equality of economic opportunities is the basis of justice.
  • The Egyptian society is based on solidarity, interdependence and compassion among all people, which represents the bond that includes all citizens without discrimination. Therefore, education should promote the values of tolerance, solidarity and pluralism.
  • Respect for beliefs and sanctities is obligatory. Prevention of any contempt of others’ beliefs and the incitement of hatred is a compulsory social responsibility of loyal citizens.
  • Freedom of belief and religious practices as well as freedom to build or renovate religious houses – in light of the law and the right for citizens to resort to their own religious laws concerning their personal affairs along with other rights mentioned in the Islamic Sharia’ – are all considered part of the values of the Egyptian society and a base for its cultural authenticity.
  • The participation of all citizens in defending the country is the responsibility of all, and it is the crucible where all segments of society are melted and form national unity. This national unity is crucial to fighting all internal and external enemies of Egypt who want to drive a wedge between its societal segments.
  • The religious values are the motives of the renaissance. Therefore, everyone must mobilize these values to achieve a better future for Egypt.
  • Societal responsibility obliges all leaders, institutions and religious movements to fight against all types of strife, intolerance and discrimination, and consolidate the unity of society.
  • The Egyptian society’s identity represents the frame for all its people. All people have made contributions to this identity and deserve its legacy. Protection of societal values is considered the basis of cultural uniqueness and the responsibility of all citizens who contributed to building Egypt’s civilization together over time.

All participants of this meeting made emphasis on the importance of communication between the two parties to promote joint activities, especially among the youth, such as encouraging active participation, advocating for values and religious morals, and carrying the social responsibility of fighting the illness that affected the Egyptian society under the previous regime. This will guarantee everyone the right to participate in building a new Egypt that achieves the demands and dreams of the revolution.

Attendees from the Muslim Brotherhood:

  • Dr. Mohamed Badie (General Guide, Head of the Executive Office)
  • Mr. Mohamed Mahdy Akef (former General Guide)
  • Dr. Rashad Mohamed Bayoumy (Vice-General Guide)
  • Dr. Hosam Abo Bakr al-Seddik (Member of the Guidance Office)
  • Mr. Walid Shalaby (Media Counselor to the General Guide)

Attendees from The Evangelical Church in Egypt:

  • Dr. Rev. Safwat al-Bayadi (President of the Protestant Churches in Egypt)
  • Dr. Rev. Andrea Zaki (Vice-President of the Protestant Churches in Egypt)
  • Rev. George Shaker (Secretariat of the Protestant Churches in Egypt)
  • Rev. Soliman Sadek (Pastor of the Evangelical Church in Fagala)
  • Dr. Rev. Makram Naguib (Pastor of the Evangelical Church in Heliopolis)
  • Dr. Rev. Atef Mehanny (President of the Evangelical Seminary)
  • Dr. Helmy Samuel (Member of the Parliament)
  • Dr. Rafik Habib (Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services)
  • Rev. Refaat Fathy (Secretariat of the Evangelical Synod)
  • Dr. Rev. Sarwat Kades (Chairman of the Board of Dialogue of the Evangelical Synod)
  • Dr. Emad Ramzy (Secretariat of the Board of Directors of CEOSS)
  • Rev. Daoud Ebrahim (Member of the Council of the Presbyterian Church in Egypt)
  • Rev. Eid Salah (Member of the Council of the Presbyterian Church in Egypt)
  • Mr. Farouk al-Zabet (Head of the Congregation of the Evangelical Brethren Church)
  • Dr. Fready al-Bayadi (Member of the Council of the Presbyterian Church in Egypt)
  • Rev. Nady Labib (Head of Cairo Presbyterian Council)
  • Rev. Refaat Fekry (Pastor of the Evangelical Church in Ard Sherif)

Please click here to access the agreement in Arabic


Religious Dialogue and Civil Society

Representatives of the major Egyptian religious communities

Under the slogan, ‘We live together, think together, work together’, The Egyptian Evangelical Synod of the Nile opened the Religious Dialogue and Civil Society Conference September 20-22, sponsored by the Konrad Adenuer Foundation. The conference featured an impressive array of participants among Egyptian religious and civil society leaders.

Opening remarks were moderated by Dr. Imad Abul Ghazi, the Egyptian Minister of Culture. He introduced each of the many religious representatives to follow.

Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald is the Papal Ambassador to Egypt. He described the living together of Muslims and Christians in Egypt to be natural, but fragile. He lauded the efforts of the Azhar to create a ‘Family House’ in which religious leaders meet to discuss issues affecting Egypt and their communities. He urged, however, this effort to seep down to the grassroots – its imitation represented in each local community. He also described the necessity for religious communities to have a share in civil society to raise concerns against government policies. For this to be effective, he declared, religion must maintain some distance from the state.

Dr. Safwat al-Baiady is the President of the Egyptian Protestant Council of Churches. Following on the imitation of God who dialogues with man, he urged dialogue between men to transcend baser stages to the more effective. From Shared Monologue to Skillful Discussion to Reflective dialogue to, finally, Creative Dialogue, he declared that partners must enter dialogue as freemen, not slaves to their constituencies. The goal of this effort is not to defend yourself or to convince the other, but to reach common ground on the basis of friendship and love. This requires, he believed, not only self-confidence, but also confidence in the other.

Rev. Albert Ruiess is the President of the Synod of the Nile. He noted that the valuable process of reform often results in the emergence of different groups. This was noticeable in the Protestant Reformation, as it is noticeable in Egypt today. What is necessary is to find the elixir that can make Egypt one again. The Bible, he declares, teaches that humanity is one body with many different parts, and that the elixir needed to unify them is love.

Dr. Mahmoud Azab is the Azhar Advisor for Dialogue and Deputy to the Grand Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyib. He stated that as the Azhar views Islam as a religion of mercy, so it also sees Christianity as a religion of love. He noted the historic cooperation between Muslims and Christians in Egypt, seen in their opposition to the British occupation, and more recently in the January 25 Revolution. He praised the efforts of the Azhar to guide discussion of the future Egyptian state between liberals and Islamists, declaring the Azhar document demanding Egypt to be a civil state was recognized by almost all parties. He also commended the ‘Family House’ initiative, in which Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic, and Anglican leaders join with the Azhar to promote dialogue, discuss interreligious issues, and confront extremist religious discourse, whether in churches, mosques, or on satellite television channels.

Bishop Mouneer of the Anglican Church

Dr. Mouneer Hanna is the Anglican Bishop for Egypt, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa. He provided examples of the commitment of Anglicans in Egypt to serve their communities, as well as of Anglicans worldwide and locally to engage in Muslim-Christian dialogue. He praised especially the agreement between the Azhar and the Archbishop of Canterbury, crafted after September 11, 2001, to conduct yearly sessions to better know one another. Finally, he urged application in Egypt of wisdom he learned from political leaders during a recent trip to China: I don’t care the color of the cat, as long as it catches the mouse. So in Egypt, religious affiliation should be unimportant in the civil state, as long as citizens contribute to the good of the nation.

The conference was held at the Movenpick Hotel in Media Production City, near 6 October City on the western outskirts of Cairo. Panel sessions included other well known Egyptian figures from the churches of Egypt, civil society, and the Muslim Brotherhood.