Culture minister calls for civil state in Egypt

A civil system, not an Islamic one, is the proper path toward a modern state, Egypt's culture minister said at a seminar in Assiut on Sunday.

Culture Minister Emad Abu Ghazi also said Egypt stands at a crossroads and called for the law to be applied to every citizen.

Other participants at the seminar, organized by the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS) and the University of Assiut, also thought Egypt should be a civil state.

Egypt should not replace former President Hosni Mubarak with a despotic theocracy, journalist Saad Hagras said. 

He said the 25 January revolution sought democracy and freedom. A civil state is the top demand because it would apply the law, multiplicity and power-sharing, Hagras said.

An accord must be reached between the battling advocates of a civil and a religious state, and no national factions should be excluded, Hagras said.

The head of the CEOSS, Andre Zaky, said a civil state is based on peace, tolerance, equality and respect for the law.

Salem Abdel Galil, undersecretary of the Ministry of Islamic Endowments, said Egyptians want a state that respects human rights, freedom, citizenship and international agreements that conform to Egyptian traditions.

University of Assiut President Mostafa Kamal said the revolution sought to support freedoms rather than replace Mubarak with a ruler using religion for political purposes.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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