Logo for organization of Egyptian Copts
As Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood declares its intent to institute Islamic law, intelligence sources report al-Qaida is staging attacks in the Middle East nation, prompting concern that Coptic Christians soon will be driven from their homeland.
International Christian Concern’s Aidan Clay says the Copts’ attitude has gone from uncertainty to fear, which is driving many Coptic Christians to try to leave Egypt.
“A report from a very prominent Copt says he’s getting hundreds of calls a week from Coptic Christians who are trying to get out of the country,” Clay told WND in an interview. “That’s an extremely sad thing considering we’re seeing that throughout the Middle East. We’re seeing the quick removal of ancient Christian communities. Egypt has the highest Christian population of any country and a very old Christian church there.”
Clay blames the increasing pressure on the growing political influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic groups.
“So really, there is a fear that the Muslim Brotherhood could take power,” he said. “It’s the same with the Salafis. They’re now saying they’re willing to run for Parliament.”
Audio of the interview can be heard below:
The International Christian Concern analyst was referring to a recent report on Vatican Radio that said the long-restricted Salafist group is planning to form a political party and run candidates for Egypt’s Parliament.
“In the past, Mubarak had a very hard hand on these extreme, fundamentalist, ultra-conservative groups. They were not allowed to run for government in any way,” Clay commented. “But the Muslim Brotherhood had some influence and were able to get some votes.”
Clay said that even though the groups were kept under control, they’ve long had the Christians in their sights.
“These were the groups responsible for the major terrorist attacks against the Christians. They may even be responsible for the New Year’s Eve attack against the church in Alexandria,” Clay asserted. “Mubarak of course blamed an outside al-Qaeda group for the attack. The Copts don’t buy that; they think it was it was an excuse by Mubarak to not to have to deal with the turmoil inside of Egypt.”
The issue for Copts, as Clay explained, is that both groups have promised some form of Islamic government, which would put restrictions on the Christians in Egypt.
Coptic Christians demonstrated against Islamic law, or Shariah, and voiced support for an entirely secular state in Egypt. Clay said the desire for a secular government will likely go unheeded.
“They’re not going to get far in demanding a secular constitution, especially if the Brotherhood gains a lot of influence in the September elections,” he said. “The Brotherhood will slowly gain control and they’ll gain seats by using democracy to their advantage.”
Clay’s assessment is in line with a recently published Heritage Foundation report on Egypt’s political future and the status of the Coptic Christians.
The report analyzes the constitutional amendments Egyptians voted for with a 77-percent majority in the March referendum and claims the referendum only presented the “illusion of progress.” The report also describes the Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement in the vote.
“It’s simply bad news for Egyptians who want a total transformation of the political status quo,” the paper stated. “The Muslim Brotherhood and members of the ruling National Democratic Party were the main supporters of the military-backed referendum.”
The position paper also observes that groups that wielded power at the time had an advantage:
“The new amendments give an advantage to these well-organized and well-financed groups over newly established democratic political parties. This is likely to lead to political setbacks for liberal democrats, secular pluralists and especially religious minorities,” the paper added.
“Opponents of this referendum, including the Copts, condemn its ability
to foster a truly democratic system of government that protects religious liberty,”
the paper said.
One of the amendments approved will allow for the establishment of an Egyptian legal code based on Shariah.
Egypt’s Coptic community unanimously opposed the amendment, and International Christian Union President Joseph Hakim says Coptic opposition is understandable.
“Anytime Shariah law is created in a government like that, it is created so that it will delete any other religion,” Hakim explained. “As we know over the years, Islam cannot really live with any other religion, especially when it’s controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida or the Wahhabi.”
Hakim says that what’s happening in Egypt is a natural result of Muslims exerting control. He also says that the West doesn’t understand the dynamic of Muslims flexing their muscles.
“So the crisis in Egypt is normal. It’s what’s expected,” Hakim asserted. “The Western World never really sees things or has enough knowledge about what radical Islam is.”
Audio of the interview with Hakim can be heard below:
Hakim attributes Mubarak’s removal from power to the Muslim Brotherhood and believes the Libyan uprising also is Brotherhood inspired.
“Even what’s going on in Libya is the Muslim Brotherhood, and the worst is yet to come if it goes into Syria because of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Hakim observed. “I’m not saying the Syrian regime is great, but the present regime is saving the minorities. Once the regime in Syria changes, the minorities will go down the tubes like they’ve done in Iraq and like they’re doing in Egypt right now.”
Hakim also believes that if the situation in Egypt doesn’t change, there could be “a huge civil war.”
“In Egypt it’s not going to happen that easily because there are approximately 14 million Christians over there,” Hakim said. “That’s where the problem is, and I don’t think this administration is ever going to do anything to save the Christians in the Middle East.
“In Egypt the Christians are in a very terrible condition, and it’s going to get worse and worse. I see a civil war, or a religious war against the Christians, and it’s going to happen very soon,” Hakim claimed.