The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

What the Coptic pope wants from the Muslim Brotherhood

Pope (pope-elect?) Tawadros II is off to a great start, not as a spiritual leader or even a Christian, but as one of the most important national figures in Egypt tout court. Here's what he said about his relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP):

They asked me what I would wish for from the FJP. I replied that I request two things from the FJP; freedom and justice, only.

He's also suggested postponing his own coronation ceremony because of the train disaster near Assiut that claimed the lives of at least 50 children this morning, winning much respect for the gesture. Maybe he should do that and give President Mohammed Morsi a chance top reconsider his absolutely flabbergasting decision not to attend the ceremony. You only get a new pope every few decades, after all, and there would be no greater way to reassure Egypt's Christian community and start off on the right foot with the pope.

Salama Moussa suggests the church should leave an empty seat on the front row at Abbesseya cathedral when the ceremony takes place. Maybe that would send back the right message.