The future of Christians in Egypt is looking bleaker and bleaker as it looks like Egypt’s controversial constitution will pass the two stage referendum. The constitution does not take into account the rights of religious minorities in Egypt, including Christians. There have been many reports that Christians were kept away from polling stations by intimidation and sometimes physical assault.
12/23/2012 Egypt (AllVoices) – According to reports, Egyptians have endorsed a controversial draft constitution in a two-stage referendum. The approved charter gives Islamists the mandate to decide the future of Egypt, which has a considerable Christian population and other minorities.
The new constitution, drafted by a predominantly Islamist group to exclude the aspirations of Christians and liberals, is expected to come into effect this week. The final endorsement of the constitution by Egyptians has crystallized the fears of liberals, religious minorities and women that all is not well in the state of Egypt.
The new constitution may provide Egypt’s transition period an ostensible closure. However, with violence, lawlessness and disapproval simmering from a large chunk of Egypt’s minority, there are apprehensions that the Arab world’s most populous nation is sliding into a state of civil strife.
Ever since the constitutional draft was passed without any consensus from secular groups and liberals, the Coptic Christians have taken an unprecedented approach in the constitutional struggle. The Coptic Orthodox Church withdrew six of its members from the Constituent Assembly as a mark of protest, and later declined to join the “national dialogue” staged by President Mohamed Morsi.
Despite the protests and violence that engulfed the cities of Cairo and Alexandria, the Muslim Brotherhood has managed to sustain its will in influencing the Egyptians, especially the conservative, uneducated and traditional sections to vote in favor of the new draft.
The manner in which supporters of Muslim Brotherhood swept down on anti-Morsi protesters on Dec. 5 outside the presidential palace—trying to dismantle the protests with violence—predicts a new Egypt that stretches beyond the politics of the constitution itself.
There’s no doubt that the draft constitution finalized by the Islamists has polarized Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood, on the other hand, accuses liberals of attempting to curtail a right to bring Islamic law, which they earned with election victories the past year.
According to a report in the Washington Times, the new constitution now openly seeks to “establish dictatorial arrogance with a blatant disregard for religious freedom” within Egypt.
The new legislation can now endorse religious discrimination, and there are apprehensions that that once the constitution takes effect, Egypt will witness a new phase of repression. Sharia, or Islamic religious law, will be the basis of legislation, and some of the doctrines in the constitution essentially relegate non-Muslims to a position of second-class citizenry.