Egypt Christians in two minds over Islamist gains

By Yasmine Saleh, Reuters, Jordan Times

CAIRO – An Islamist surge in Egypt has left a large Christian minority divided over whether to flee the country, stay silent or reach out to a political force that seems guaranteed a major role in the country’s future.

The pessimists say a revolution that began with the uprising against Hosni Mubarak in January is unravelling because many Islamists, who won a first round of parliamentary elections, have little interest in civil liberties or religious freedom.

They say pledges from Islamists to protect the Copts, the mostly Orthodox Christians whose roots go back to before the arrival of Islam in the seventh century, contradict much of their campaign rhetoric.

The Muslim Brotherhood, whose party is set to take the most seats in the new assembly, has long said “Islam is the Solution” for a country where one-tenth of the population is Christian.

The runners-up were ultra-conservative Salafists, whose brand of Islam reflects the strict Wahabi ideology.

“We fool ourselves if we think the Islamists will give Christians more rights or freedoms,” said 29-ye film critic Joe Fahim, a Christian. “Many of my Christian friends fear for the future and what will happen if the Brotherhood and Salafists govern Egypt. Many are thinking of leaving the country.”

Hope in democracy

The Copts face a paradox of the Arab Spring, namely that more freedom for the Muslim majority can mean more pressure on a non-Muslim minority. Iraq’s Christian community was shattered by Islamists after Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003.

read more here

Leave a Reply