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Egypt’s Christians Uneasy About Future

ICC Note:

A mood of cautious optimism about the future of Egypt prevails among Coptic Christians. While many Christians joined the revolution demanding greater freedoms, many are fearful of the role the Muslim Brotherhood may play in the formation of a new government.

By David Lee Miller

2/18/2011 Egypt (Fox News) – There is hope and fear at St. George’s Coptic Church in a northern neighborhood of Cairo. Just down the block from a mosque about 150 Coptic Christians attended Mass.

The Church’s regional leader, Pope Ava Marcos said, “all Egyptians wanted the revolution to happen,” admitting, “anyone who dared to speak would vanish.” Many Coptic Christians like high school student, Fadi Atef, welcome the change in government and hope it will bring the country together.

“Christians and Muslims are Egyptians,” he said, “we don’t feel the difference.”

But religious tension is on the rise between Egypt’s 8 million Christians, most of whom belong to the Coptic Orthodox church, and the country’s overwhelmingly Muslim majority. For years Christians who comprise about 10 percent of the population, have complained about government sanctioned discrimination. Last month a suicide bomber linked to Islamic extremists killed 21 Christians at a Coptic Church in Alexandria.

Although there is hope a new government will heal old wounds, many Christians are worried about the future role of the Muslim Brotherhood. The previously banned group – which calls for strict adherence to Islamic law – is creating its own political party. Although a spokesman for the group said it would not take part in presidential elections, it planned to put forward a slate of candidates for parliament.

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