Pope Shenouda meets church leaders to discuss ‘Salafi threat’

Coptic Pope Shenouda III met on Monday with a committee of members from the Holy Synod to discuss the growing role of Salafis and problems faced by Copts in Egypt.

The committee was composed of 15 bishops, including Father Basanti, bishop for Helwan and Maasara and Father Morcos, bishop for Shubra al-Kheima.

Coptic businessman Rami Lakkah attended the meeting for a few minutes before leaving.

A church source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Pope discussed the crises faced by Copts following the alleged emergence of Salafi calls on the internet to organize protests against "improperly-dressed" women.

Father Morcos said the meeting was held on the occasion of the Pope's return from a therapeutic trip to the US. Nader Morcos, Shenouda's public relations adviser and member of the Ecclesiastical Council, said Minister of Interior Mansour al-Essawy asked the Pope to form a committee of church leaders and secularists to raise the awareness among Coptic youth and fight sectarian tensions before the parliamentary elections.

A group of Coptic youth have also announced the formation of the Maspero Youth Movement. Ibram Louis, one of its founders, said it is a secularist movement that brings together the youth who organized the Coptic protest in front of the Egyptian state television building.

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