By Essam Fadl
CAIRO: A group of Coptic activists issued a statement last week listing 11 amendments they demand take place in the constitutional.
Activists are waiting for the resumption of the negotiations process that was stalled after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, saying their demands are relentless regardless of who they negotiate with.
Head of Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organization Naguib Gobrael told Daily News Egypt that the Orthodox Church hailed the demands, “but the church does not want to officially involve itself in the negotiation process so that the matter is not dealt with on a sectarian or religious level.”
The 11 demands included canceling or modifying any articles that conflict with the Article 1 related to citizenship and Article 40 related to equality and Article 46 related to freedom of religion, referring to the second article of the constitution that states that Islam is the main source of legislation.
The activists also called for religious freedom for all faiths.
“New constitutional amendments should be in line with articles in the constitution related to justice and equality, especially issuing laws against religious discrimination, and amending new unified laws for building places of worship with no security restrictions,” the statement read.
The statement also called for removing the religious affiliation field from national ID cards, and canceling decisions that force minors to change their names and faith when their parents convert to Islam, as well as setting the age for choosing one’s religion at 21.
Demands also included annulling all court cases pertaining to Christian converts and allowing them to convert to their original religion.
The group also called for more Coptic political involvement by urging political parties to pave the way for Copts in the political scene.
The statement also encourages religious minorities to play a role in state institutions, especially in syndicates and government institutions, and removing restrictions over appointing Copts in important governmental institutions.
“The Egyptian government has to cancel its reservations over international agreements, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” he said.