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EGYPT/ Greiche: The Church will not back down

Father RAFIC GREICHE, Spokesman for the Catholic Church in Egypt, discusses the new draft of the Constitution that was approved and which has triggered protests throughout the country.

President Morsi  (Infophoto) President Morsi (Infophoto)

These are tense hours in Egypt, not only because of the violent clashes that have characterized the past few days, but especially with regard to the preparation of the new draft of the constitution that has created a split in the country. The draft was in fact approved by a Constituent Assembly, in the absence of the Christian minority and liberal party representatives. In addition, the behavior of President Morsi, who with his recent decrees has assumed powers considered illegal and harmful to democracy, and has triggered the demonstrations and clashes in recent days.

Father Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Catholic Church in Egypt, was contacted by Ilsussidiario.net the same day that the draft was approved. Greiche expresses all the concerns of the Catholic community, which were then confirmed by the text of the draft that was approved on November 29.

Who are the people protesting against Morsi? Are they people from the liberal party? Christians?
There are people from the liberal parties, Christians, and all the political parties, though not the Muslim Brotherhood and not the Salafites. These two are absent, though there are some people in the Muslim Brotherhood and some radical Muslims who are against what Morsi has done.

It was kind of a surprise for us to see the movement against Morsi in Egypt. We thought that the majority of Egyptians supported the Muslim Brotherhood.
No, this is a very big indication that Egyptians are fed up with the Muslim wing: the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists. Morsi won with a very slight majority, so most Egyptians, even moderate Muslims are against what is happening. I will tell you about the current political situation. Today, a Constitutional Committee is supposedly going to approve the final draft of the Constitution. This is dangerous because, if they vote and they give the job to the president, he will quickly call a referendum and find out that most people are already against this.

What is the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Muslim Bortherhood? Has it changed from the past?
There is a kind of relationship. We know them very well. They used to come and attend the committee meetings of the Catholic Church. Yesterday, the Imam of al-Azhar had a meeting with the political leaders  and the Christian Church, both Catholics and evangelicals. There were people from the Muslim Brotherhood, though they tried to convince the Church to go back to approving of the work of the Constitutional Committee, but the Church said that they would never go back, and that they will not sign the draft as it is currently.

In the cities and countryside, do normal Christians and Muslims have a peaceful relationship?