In an interview yesterday on al-Nehwar satellite channel, Pope Sehnoda III said he has not “apologized” for comments made by Father Bishoy, secretary of the Holy synod, which questioned the authenticity of certain Quranic verses.
The pope said he only expressed regret over Muslim anger provoked by the statements.
During the interview, the pope said that there is a need to raise public awareness, spread love and explain how an individual should properly handle personal anger.
He added that he has not discouraged church officials speaking out on the recent events.
“I talk for myself only…people have different minds and attitudes,” said the pope.
The recent sectarian incidents all have one common factor which is “lack of love,” according to the pope.
Referring to the recent standoff relating to the alleged conversion of Kamilia Shehata, the wife of a bishop, the pope wondered why events have taken such a “strange twist” with protests erupting in various governorates. He said he fears such escalation will eventually undermine the security of the country.
Commenting on the allegations made by Mohamed Salim al-Awwas, a renowned Islamic thinker, that claimed Egyptian churches host large quantities of arms and are impenetrable to Egyptian security, the pope said these comments cannot be the basis for proper dialogue.
The pope dismissed such claims as illogical. “Such talk provokes the simple-minded people!” he said.
The pope went on to say that the doors of churches are open to state scrutiny.
Exchanging accusations, the pope warned, will drive Muslims and Copts further apart.
The pope said Muslims have overreacted to the “alleged conversion” of Shehata. Copts considered it a personal matter while those who protested during the Shehata crisis thought of it in the public context, according to Shenouda.
He pointed out that Copts can easily find reasons to stir trouble, particularly in light of recent claims that the Bible has been corrupted. But, Pope Shenouda said, Copts are generally calm people.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.