Cairo: Egypt`s highest judiciary body on Wednesday
overturned a ruling ordering the Coptic church to allow its
faithful to remarry, the official MENA news agency said, in a
move welcomed by the church.
The Supreme Constitutional Court overturned a May
decision by the High Administrative Court that obliged the
head of the church, Pope Shenuda III, to issue a second
marriage permit to divorced Copts requesting one.
That ruling sparked demonstrations in Cairo, with angry
protesters, saying it went against the Bible, charging state
interference in religious affairs.
Copts forbid divorce except in proven cases of adultery,
or if a spouse converts to another religion or branch of
Civil marriage alone is not recognised in Egypt.
Today`s ruling "has relieved Coptic church leaders who
trust and respect the Egyptian judiciary and believe in its
justness and its ability to correct any contradictions in
rulings," Hani Aziz Amin, a church representative, told MENA.
After the High Administrative Court`s ruling Shenuda had
urged the court to review its decision.
"The decision must be reviewed," he said. "The church
respects the law but it does not accept judgements that go
against the Gospels and against religious freedom, which is
guaranteed by the constitution."
"Marriage for us is sacred and a religious act, not a
simple administrative act," he continued, adding that the
church could "absolutely not apply" the court`s decision.
Copts make up about 10 percent of the country`s
80-million largely Muslim population, and are the Middle
East`s biggest Christian community.