Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and the highest Coptic authority in Egypt, said in an interview with Kuwaiti television on Saturday that Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has a national duty to run for president, dubbing him “the hero of the June revolution.”
Following widespread speculation that Sisi would resign from his military post and run for president, veteran politician Amr Moussa announced on Saturday some aspects of Sisi’s platform indicating a possibly imminent announcement.
Tawadros II is not the first religious figure to endorse Sisi. Former Grand mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa, repeatedly said in the media that Sisi was the man best suited for the job.
Asked during the interview about the wave of unrest that swept the Arab world starting in 2011, otherwise known as the Arab Spring, Tawadros II claimed it was motivated by “evil intentions” aimed at sewing divisions.
The uprisings had left the region in an “Arab winter,” the pope claimed.
Tawadros II also accused the West of taking a biased position in favor of the ousted Muslim Brotherhood regime led by former President Mohamed Morsi. As evidence, Tawadros II claimed that while Western powers used to react strongly to church attacks in Egypt in the past, the responses to church attacks since Morsi’s removal have been milder.
Pope Tawadros II added during the interview, transcribed in Sunday’s edition of the Kuwaiti Al-Watan newspaper, that he is against the creation of a quota for Copts in parliamentary elections as it could divide society.
The pope participated in the roadmap put in place after the removal of Morsi on July 3 as well as the subsequent Constitution, which was passed through a popular referendum in January. Tawadros II said that the new Constitution has created a balance pleasing to all Egyptians.