Church leaders: Decision to withdraw from Constituent Assembly is final

The three Egyptian churches’ decision to withdraw from the Constituent Assembly is final, said church leaders on Monday.

Bishop Morcos, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church’s Holy Synod information committee, told the German news agency DPA that most of the articles included in the current constitution draft would preclude a civil state.

Church leaders have received calls from Al-Azhar officials to arrange a meeting to discuss the situation but the date is in dispute, said Evangelical Church head Safwat al-Bayadi.

“Al-Azhar leaders proposed that the meeting would be on Sunday, however, we found it inappropriate due to the papal ordination ceremony,” he said.

Islamist forces are trying to depict the churches’ withdrawal as motivated by religious reasons, despite the fact that civil forces were withdrawing on the same grounds, Bayadi claimed.

“Churches don’t have religious or personal demands. We want a civil constitution that grants rights and duties. We refuse the articles on women and children, which have nothing to do with religion,” he added.

Bayadi also stated that the churches could reconsider their decision only if the assembly was reformed or if a consensus was reached on bringing in new members to end Islamist domination.

Edited translation from DPA

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