Egypt Coptic Christian Leader Denies Telling Copts to 'Obey' Country's Rulers

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(Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)Pope Tawadros II, the 118th pope of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, during interview at the Wadi Natrun Monastery complex, northwest of Cairo, Nov. 5, 2012.

The head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, Coptic Patriarch Tawadros II, has insisted that statements attributed to him in Middle Eastern newspapers, saying the country's rulers should be obeyed, are entirely false.

"I did not say these words," Coptic Patriarch Tawadros II said Wednesday to demonstrators protesting against recent statements attributed to him. "What you read in the websites and newspapers is incorrect."

A group of Copts organized a demonstration Wednesday at Cairo's St. Mark Cathedral to protest the statements published in Middle Eastern newspapers.

The newspapers quoted the Coptic pope as saying, "Civil disobedience is refused. The ruler should be obeyed."

The demonstrators raised banners reading, "No for allowing the Muslim Brotherhood dominate the church," "The pope has a spiritual role not a political one," "We refuse the church's involvement in politics," "Morsi is not my ruler," and "You said Mubarak and Shafiq, while you say now Morsi is a friend."

On Feb. 14, various Middle Eastern newspapers quoted Pope Tawadros as speaking against civil disobedience and calling on Egypt's political parties for calm.

He was also quoted as stressing the need to obey Egypt's ruler, which aroused the anger of young Coptic Christians.