Coptic Christians and other minorities in Egypt are feeling voiceless under the country’s new Islamist government. In fact, the problem is region-wide.
Since the popular uprising of 2011, Botrous Samy, a medical doctor in Cairo, has struggled with a new, rather daunting dilemma: “One morning, I woke up and realized that at age 38, I had no real political views,” he said. “Suddenly, I felt lost.”
In the hour before families begin to push open the heavy front door of the stone church, the three men inside are busy, placing Bibles written in Arabic into each pew, lighting candles on top of a piano.
They hunch over a laptop, gathering lyrics to songs. There are no Arabic hymnals, so once the service begins, the words to each song will be beamed onto a screen behind the preacher and his wooden lectern.
Egypt's Christians feel sidelined, ignored and neglected by Muslim Brotherhood-led authorities, who proffer assurances but have taken little or no action to protect them from violence, Coptic Pope Tawadros II said.
The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, a decades-old Islamist opposition group that now has its former officers in the president’s office and in much of the legislature, has struggled to win the trust of non-Islamists within and outside of Egypt. That’s mostly due to President Mohamed Morsi’s increasingly authoritarian-leaning rule, which has consolidated power for ideological allies at a time when the country is particularly fractured.
Dr. Yehia el-Gamal, constitutional jurist and former deputy prime minister, said the violent sectarian incidents in Egypt have increased after the rise of the Islamic movement to power, stressing that the policies of President Mohamed Morsi are pushing the country to a civil war.
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