JAFFA Israel – A meeting between the head of Egypt’s Coptic Church and the King of Saudi Arabia, who is currently visiting Egypt, was met with acerbic criticism from Cairo’s prominent Christian columnist, Robert Fares.
The meeting between Pope Tawadros II (pictured) and King Salman “raises some questions, being the first meeting of its kind between the Pope and the head of the Wahhabi kingdom that bans the construction of churches and treats the New Testament in the same way as narcotic drugs,” Fares wrote.
“The Salafists describe it as a meeting between the leader of the infidels and the leader of the faithful,” he added.
Fares’ criticism comes against the backdrop of King Salman’s landmark visit, during which Egypt and Saudi Arabia increased strategic cooperation. The visit was touted as a matter of national importance by the Egyptian regime.
Fares wrote that the fact the Pope came to meet the King, and not the other way around, is deplorable. “There was a reason why the king didn’t come to the cathedral. He is the head of a state whose religious message to the world is that churches are an abomination.”
Fares also criticized the Pope for taking off his cross during the meeting. “The cross is part of his personality and faith, which the Muslim rejects,” he wrote, adding that the Pope should not have acceded to the government’s wish as if he were a lowly civil servant.