Egypt    POPE'S TRIP RAISES POLITICAL ISSUES
Pope John Paul II's personal pilgrimage to Egypt will focus attention on sectarian tensions, according to Egyptian Catholic Bishop Youhanna Kolta.
   "His holiness is aiming to make his visit to Egypt a spiritual journey, a pilgrimage," the bishop said. "The political side is to strengthen relations with the Egyptians here, with the Coptic Orthodox Church and with the Muslims."
   On Thursday, his first day in Egypt, John Paul will pay separate courtesy calls to Sheik Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, one of Egypt's top Muslim clerics, and Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III. The visits will likely shine a light on the tense relations between Egypt's Muslim majority and Copts, the largest religious minority at an estimated 10 percent of the 64 million population.
   Copts often complain they are unfairly treated by Muslims but Bishop Kolta said such outbreaks are isolated and stem from ignorance.
   John Paul also will be reaching out to other Christian sects during his visit, with Saturday prayers at a Greek Orthodox monastery on Mount Sinai, where the bible says Moses received the 10 Commandments.
   
AP 22/2/00

BACK TO NEWS INDEX| Meditation | About us | Products | Contact | Search