Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.
As Egypt’s presidential elections come to a close, with the Brotherhood claiming presidential victory, the future of Egypt’s indigenous Christians, the Copts, looks bleak.
Earlier, after the first presidential elections of May 23-24, any number of Islamists denounced them, bemoaning that it was the Copts who were responsible for the secularist candidate Ahmed Shafiq’s good showing.
Even though Shafiq is a “remnant” of the Mubarak regime, which Copts suffered under, he is widely seen as the lesser of two evils. As one Copt put it: “What did they want us to do? Whoever says that supporting Shafiq is a crime against the 25 January Revolution, we ask him to advise us whom to vote for? The sea is in front of us and the Islamists are behind us.”
Regardless, Abu Ismail, the Salafi presidential candidate who was disqualified, expressed “great disappointment” in “our Coptic brethren,” saying that “I do not understand why the Copts so adamantly voted for Ahmed Shafiq,” portraying it as some sort of conspiracy between the Copts, the old regime, and even Israel: “Exactly what relationship and benefit do the Copts have with the old regime?”
Tarek al-Zomor, a prominent figure of the Gama’a al-Islamiyya—the terrorist organization that slaughtered some 60 European tourists during the Luxor Massacre—”demanded an apology from the Copts” for voting for Shafiq, threatening that “this was a fatal error.”
To an extent, of course, Islamist attacks on Copts were due less to Coptic votes for Shafiq, and more to do with the usual animosity for Christians—an animosity that seems to seek any excuse to attack them. By virtue of their greater numbers, many more Muslims did in fact vote for Shafiq than did Christians; even the Islamic Sufi Council of Egypt expressed its support for Shafiq instead of for the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate who advocates Islamic Sharia law.
Realizing that threats—with which Copts are well acquainted—would not prevent Christians from voting for the secular candidate, in a campaign that borders on the comical if not absurd, prior to this weekend’s presidential elections, Islamists began imploring the Copts to vote for the Brotherhood’s Morsi—who some say vows to return the Copts to bondage. Islamist kingpin Yusuf al-Qaradawi himself called on politically-active Muslims to go and meet with the Copts and “explain to them” how they have nothing to fear from an Islamist president, and convincing them that “Shafiq will be of no use to you.”
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