Muslim Brotherhood to improve relations with Christians

The Muslim Brotherhood has a plan to improve relations with Egypt’s Coptic community, sources within the organization have disclosed to Al-Masry Al-Youm. The action plan–which will be carried out under the supervision of the Guidance Bureau, organization deputies and governorate-level management offices–was sent to Brotherhood members for discussion.

A draft of the plan, obtained by Al-Masry Al-Youm, consists of nine main points, including instructions for Brotherhood members to acquaint themselves with their Christian neighbors and colleagues. According to the directive, Brotherhood members are to visit Christians and wish them well on holidays and celebratory occasions and to console them during periods of hardship and sickness.

The plan also contains a treatise written by Abdel Rahman el-Bir, a member of Guidance Bureau affiliated with the Research Council, that discusses how Islamic jurisprudence can provide guidance on such social practices as offering greetings and visiting the sick, among others. The tract also addresses other issues such as the construction of churches, citizenship rights, religious proselytizing, and confronting sectarian strife.

Abdel Rahman el-Bir emphasized that Muslim-Coptic relations in Egypt is one of the most important issues that concern the Brotherhood. “We do not consider them a minority and we have made this clear in the Brotherhood party agenda and in all of our electoral campaigns,” said el-Bir. “Our position on this issue has been consistent: We are not against a Coptic holding any position [of authority] except for the presidency. Our principal goals are to support national unity and to solve Egypt’s problems from the ground up, unlike the current regime.”

El-Bir also noted that Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie visited a church to offer his good wishes for the holidays and condemned acts of sectarian violence before his election.

Bishop Musa, a leading Coptic bishop for youth affairs, denied any knowledge of the plan or direct contact with the Brotherhood. “Our hearts are open to everyone and we have no resentment towards anyone. We do not turn away those who knock on our door to offer condolences or congratulations,” he said. “Our church offers a National Participation program, which encourages young Copts integrate nationally and establish relationships with Muslims. It also encourages them to join political parties, syndicates and civil society organizations, and to make their opinions heard through legitimate channels.”

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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