Egyptian Christians' fears over possible Muslim Brotherhood victory

A leader of the Christian community in Egypt expressed fears about the future safety of his people, should the Muslim Brotherhood emerge victorious in the presidential elections. Coptic Catholic Bishop Antonios Aziz Mina of Guizeh (Giza) said that while it was difficult to say which candidate would best guarantee liberty for the country’s Christians he had fears about the Muslim Brotherhood taking power.

In an interview with ACIN, Bishop Aziz said,  “The Muslim Brothers say one thing then tomorrow they do another thing. They don’t maintain their promises – that’s the problem.” The prelate that it would be difficult to vote for the Muslim Brotherhood without guarantees from them. 

No one was the outright victor of Egypt’s first round of presidential elections so there will be a run-off between Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, and Ahmed Shafik, formerly prime minister under President Hosni Mubarak, on June 16-17. Morsi received 5.7 million votes, while Shafik garnered 5.5 million, according to Egypt’s electoral commission. 

Bishop Mina hoped that the future government of Egypt will secure freedom for all Egyptians, regardless of religion. He said, “Whoever will guarantee liberty and democracy and a good constitution for Egypt will have our vote.” The bishop added, “We have a situation with the elections and the constitution and the future of our country – whoever wants to be president needs to guarantee a good constitution, in which everyone will be able to find his place in our country. He needs to guarantee the minimum of liberties we seek.” 

The first round of presidential elections was held on May 23 and 24.

Bishop Mina said it was still too early to make any predictions about who will win the second-round elections, adding “It is difficult to say while each of the two candidates has support from 25 percent of the voters and that is not so enough, as there are also more than 50 percent who voted for another candidate.” 

Expressing concerns of many Egyptians, Muslim and non-Muslim, Bishop “They have to gain the trust of the other 50 percent and I don’t know who will obtain these votes and we will have to wait and see who can obtain their confidence and get their votes.” He added: “There are two weeks until the [run-off] election and we will wait to see who can guarantee a good future for Egypt.” Bishop Mina did express at least some hope for the future. He said, “Always I am an optimist – and at this time I choose to hope.”



Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

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