Egypt's Christians fleeing country after Islamist takeover | Persecution

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Egypt’s Christians fleeing country after Islamist takeover

Egypt’s Coptic Christians fleeing country after Islamist takeover

ICC Note: Following the approval of an Islamic-centered constitution in Egypt last month, Egyptian Christians fear for their futures amidst rising persecution, causing tens of thousands to leave the country, The Telegraph reports. Some organizations estimated that 100,000 Christians emigrated from Egypt in 2011, and that about 40,000 of them came to the US. Those number rose in 2012 and are expected to escalate in 2013.

By Richard Spencer

01/13/2013 Egypt (Telegraph) -President Mohammed Morsi has promised to respect Christians’ rights, and issued a New Year message insisting Egypt was “one homeland for all”. But several Brotherhood leaders and clerics issued thinly veiled threats against them during protests in late 2012, accusing them of being part of a plot to overthrow the government.

The biggest change in attitudes has come since the passing of a new constitution giving Sharia law more prominence.

“With the new constitution, the new laws that are expected, and the majority in parliament I don’t believe we can be treated on an equal basis,” said a congregation leader in Cairo’s Church of St Mary and St John the Baptist.

He said he knew a dozen families who had left already and 40 or 50 more friends who had applied – including, he added, liberal Muslim families who were also unhappy with the prospect of more restrictive laws.

There were 2 Coptic churches in the United States 40 years ago, whereas there are now 200.

The United States, like other countries, does not distinguish visa applications by religion, so there are no absolute figures. One estimate put the number of Coptic emigrants in 2011 at 100,000, of whom more than 40,000 went to the US.

“There is no body counting those who leave the country, neither on the Coptic side nor on the part of our embassies abroad, so it’s all just guesswork,” said Ahmed el-Qoasni, former assistant foreign minister for Egyptians abroad.

For most Christians, estimated to number between 6-8 million of Egypt’s 85 million population, flight is not an option, and many say the fear of Islamist takeover is worse than the reality so far. Most Christians are as poor as other Egyptians, currently afflicted by an economic as well as political crisis.

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