It seems that Jehovah’s Witnesses are back to the media when the administrative court has rejected to recognize them in Egypt branding them as Zionists. Then Pope shounda has opened his fire on them in his first speech in the same week after returning back to Egypt , the pope was expected to speak about the Virgin apparition but he did not , he spoke about the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Jehovah’s witnesses had entered and spread their believes in Egypt since 1930s and officially in 1951 the sect was registered in Cairo and in 1956 in Alexandria. In 1959 President Nasser had issued a presidential decree to ban the sect and its activities in Egypt and also Syria “during the UAR” , since then their existing has been illegal. During then the sect was accused of being a Zionist covert organization due to their believes. Currently there are about 800- 1200 Jehovah’s witnesses according to U.S State department’s religious freedom report in 2009. According to the same report despite being banned and also harassed from time to time since 2008 security permissions for groups up to 30 to meet were granted .
I remember the Witnesses in Egypt made the headlines when G.W Bush spoke about them once.
Last February 2009 the national council for human rights vice chairman Dr. Kamal Abu Maged has met a Jehovah’s witnesses’ European delegation to discuss the conditions of the sect in Egypt and Abu Maged told him to present for the society proofs that they are not associated with Zionism.
The government claims that the ban on the sect is associated with the Orthodox church more than our national security , for sure Pope Shounda III does not like it but I think he does not like other sects like seventh day Adventist church which is operating in Egypt for a long time since 1960s officially despite being accused too of being a Zionist covert organization. Of course I understand fully his opposition to them especially that there are unconfirmed news that there are converts to Jehovah’s witnesses from the Church already.
Honestly I do not feel comfortable with Jehovah’s witnesses’ believes regarding their relation with the state and the blood transfusion. I think I agree with Dr. Abu Maged that the sect has to prove it is part of the Egyptian society respecting its laws. It is matter of confidence and trust.