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Muslim Brotherhood Appeasing Egypt ‘s Christian Copts

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt ‘s largest opposition group, is covertly communicating with senior members of the Coptic community.

Brotherhood members wish to dismiss any fears that the Copts may have concerning the brotherhood’s increased power in the parliament, the London-based A-Sharq Al-Awsat reported.

Participants told the paper the talks were “positive.”

The Muslim Brotherhood made impressive gains in the recent legislative elections, increasing its parliamentary representatives fivefold.

The movement has been banned since 1954, and as such is barred from fielding candidates in the elections, but it has dodged this sanction by fielding its members as independents, gaining at least 76 seats in the 454-seat People’s Assembly.

It had 15 seats in the outgoing parliament.

The Coptic community in Egypt , which is a Christian minority representing less than 10 percent of the population, is concerned that the increase in the brotherhood’s power will harm their rights.

The brotherhood has said in the past that as a Christian minority, the Copts should pay a tax, known as jizia, in effect rendering this population second-class citizens.

The brotherhood is trying to present itself as a more moderate movement than in the past.