“Egyptian Christians will mark Christmas amid concerns that their situation in the country is becoming precarious as Islamists become more prominent,” Voice of America reports. Following the approval of a constitution based on the principles of Sharia law, Christians fear for their communities’ future in Egypt, making Christmas a time of great uncertainly rather than celebration.
By Al Pessin
12/24/2012 Egypt (Voice of America) – Egyptian Christians will mark Christmas amid concerns that their situation in the country is becoming precarious as Islamists become more prominent. VOA's Al Pessin visited a Christian family in Cairo as it prepared for the holiday.
Seleem Wassaf and his family are are performing their annual tradition, decorating their Christmas tree. But he says, for Egyptian Christians, the joy of the season is tempered by concern.
“At present they feel that there is something which is a fear, something may happen which they don't like to happen,” Wassaf said.
Seleem's wife Hela, a bank manager, put on a Christmas sweater and pin for the occasion, but her heart is not in it quite as it used to be.
Mrs. Wassaf says Egyptian Christians are praying more and celebrating less this year. She is worried and fears for her future as a working Christian woman in Egypt.
“No joy. Here joy, but not joy,” she said.
It's a feeling shared among many of Egypt's eight million Christians, 10 percent of the population. The Wassaf family is part of a minority within the minority. They are among the 1,000 Egyptian members of the Anglican Church.
Most Egyptian Christians are Coptic Orthodox, and they are the largest Christian community in the Arab World. The selection of a new Coptic pope in November drew worldwide attention.
Egypt's new constitution guarantees the rights of the country's Christians, but many are worried anyway according to Youssef Sidhom, the editor of the Coptic weekly newspaper.
“Well, it's obvious that Egypt is continuously being dragged towards political Islam. And political Islam in the political arena in Egypt does not hide its intentions to work towards establishing an Islamic State,” Sidhom said.
Egypt's Islamists have demonstrated their power on the streets and at the ballot box.