Coptic Pope Shenouda III has issued a resolution prohibiting conferences of a non-religious nature inside churches and auxiliary buildings, except under the full supervision of church authorities.
The Shubra al-Kheima archdiocese, meanwhile, posted a statement on its website denying any relation with the so-called “national dialogue” conference–which discussed the lack of public confidence in the government–held last Saturday in one of its conference halls.
The statement stressed that the conference had been organized by the Egyptian Federation for Human Rights, noting that the Archdiocese’s role had been confined to allowing the organizers to use one of its halls.
The statement also noted that some of the speakers had referred to certain state leaders and former presidents in an “improper way,” prompting Qaliubiya Governor Adly Hussein–who attended the conference–to call on participants to respect all leaders of Egypt. Hussein then walked out of the conference, contending that the Al-Jazeera satellite news channel, which was covering the event, was working to “tarnish” Egypt’s reputation.
Shubra al-Kheima Bishop Morkos, for his part, pointed out the many “positive” steps recently taken by the government, calling on critics to “look on the bright side.”
The church statement emphasized respect for all of Egypt’s leaders, praising “the wise leadership of President Hosni Mubarak and the prayers of Pope Shenouda III."
Translated from the Arabic Edition.