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Coptic Christian ex-patriots keep a wary eye on Egyptian elections

ICC Note:

“The fate of Copts looks as tenuous as ever as Egyptians struggle to determine who won this weekend’s first-ever democratic presidential elections. Presented with what many saw as a lose-lose proposition, Egyptians had a choice between Ahmed Shafiq, former prime minister of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, or Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who many fear will turn the country into an Islamic state,” the Washington Post reports.

By Lilly Fowler

7/18/2012 Egypt (Washington Post) – Abdel was born into a Muslim family in Egypt but embraced Christianity about 15 years ago. The decision eventually landed him in prison.

The government in Cairo does not recognize the conversion of Muslims to Christianity, which meant his children were forced to take Islamic religious courses in school. Job ads in his homeland often specified that Coptic Christians need not apply, and some establishments turned him away.

After distributing Christian pamphlets, Abdel was sentenced to nine days in jail.

“Any threat that you can think of, I’ve heard it,” said Abdel, who emigrated from Egypt about a year ago. He was so fearful of retribution for his family that he asked that only his first name be used. “All this happened under a secular government. So what’s coming after this is going to be 10 times worse.”

Like thousands of other Christians in Egypt, Abdel, 42, fled his home in Cairo in part because of religious persecution. About 8 to 12 percent of Egyptians (6 to 10 million people) are Christian, the majority of them members of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

The fate of Copts looks as tenuous as ever as Egyptians struggle to determine who won this weekend’s first-ever democratic presidential elections. Presented with what many saw as a lose-lose proposition, Egyptians had a choice between Ahmed Shafiq, former prime minister of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, or Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who many fear will turn the country into an Islamic state.

Though final results are not yet in, the Muslim Brotherhood has projected its candidate as the winner. Within hours, Egypt’s military caretaker government, which is seen as sympathetic to Mubarak’s old regime, issued an interim constitution that granted itself broad power.

[Full Story]

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