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Coptic leader hopeful after Muslim Brotherhood removed in Egypt

Anti-Morsi protesters celebrate in Cairo today (Khalil Hamra/AP/Press Association Images)

The leader of the Egyptian Coptic in Britain has expressed hope for the future of Egyptian after President Mohamed Morsi was removed in a coup yesterday.

Bishop Angaelos, who heads the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, said: “Everything was coming to a screeching halt in Egypt. There was a total mismanagement.

“Persecution has increased exponentially since the uprising [in January 2011]. There have been more deaths in two years than in the last 20 years, due to the lack of law and order

While the bishop emphasised Coptic Church is neutral in Egyptian politics, “does not back any movement, we are not players”, there were obviously deep concerns among Egyptian Christians about the direction the Muslim Brotherhood government was taking the country.

“It is not a Christian-Muslim issue. The government has taken a line that excludes a large proportion of the population,” Bishop Angaelos said, and the economy was falling to pieces. “I hope this new development brings a new era. The country needs to be rebuilt.”

Although the Egyptian Army was responsible for a massacre of 28 Christians in Maspero in October 2011, the Bishop said it had “acted with integrity” by swearing in the chief justice, Adly Mansour, as acting president. He said the problem was with the leadership, and that there should have been an inquiry into Maspero.

The problem, he said, was “a lack of political integrity and experience. Lots of promises are being made and not been kept. Morsi promised to have a woman and Christian as vice-presidents, but then he was told that according to sharia law we couldn’t have women or Christians ruling.

“I’m hoping there will be some sense of rationale and a sense of we need to reconcile. But the Muslim Brotherhood have lost a lot of ground. The other day on television there was a veiled woman speaking very boldly against what they have done, they’ve taken over a fragmented society and turned it into a polarised society.”