July 2, 2013 / 8:07 PM / in 4 years

Egypt's tweeting Pope hails army, revolutionary youth

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s Pope Tawadros tweeted his blessing on Tuesday for a youth-led revolt against Islamist President Mohamed Mursi and for army moves to end a political crisis that the ruling Muslim Brotherhood have denounced as a coup.

Reflecting deep anxiety among Egypt’s millions of Christians since last year’s election victories Mursi and the Brotherhood, the head of the Coptic Church said on Twitter:

”A salute, in tribute and glorification, to the trio that makes Egypt great: the people ... the army ... and youth.

”Long live my country, free and strong.

“How impressive are the Egyptian people, as they reclaim the revolution that was stolen from them, in a civilized and highly elegant manner with the idea of ”tamarud“ (revolt). I pray for all the people of Egypt.”

Christians - some 10 percent of Egypt’s 84 million people - have feared an expansion of Islamic laws under Mursi. Since the 2011 revolution that ousted secular, army-backed autocrat Hosni Mubarak, they have complained of attacks on churches. There have been fatal clashes between Copts and security forces.

A leading Muslim religious authority, Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb of Cairo’s ancient Al-Azhar institution, also offered an endorsement, albeit less explicit, of the army’s move when he called on political leaders to heed anti-government protesters.

Long at odds with the Muslim Brotherhood, Tayeb urged political leaders to reconcile; they should listen to “the voice of the people” and “their elegant expression of their demands”.

By highlighting risks to national security, Tayeb echoed sentiments expressed by the armed forces chief on Monday.

Reporting by Shadia Nasralla and Asma Alsharif; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Paul Taylor

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