TEL AVIV – Fearing the imposition of Islamic law if the Muslim Brotherhood wins, many Coptic Christians in Egypt are voting in today’s presidential election as a bloc for two candidates who held senior positions in the deposed regime of Hosni Mubarak, WND has learned.

Coptic Christian leaders in Egypt, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Coptic church leaders have been organizing the voting bloc, fearful for the future of the country’s already persecuted Christian minority.

President Obama and the international community supported Mubarak’s ouster. Since then, Coptic Christians have come under increased attack, facing murder, church burnings and property confiscation.

The two candidates being quietly supported by Coptic Christians are Amr Moussa, the former secretary general of the Arab League who previously served Mubarak’s foreign minister, and Ahmed Shafiq, who served as prime minister under Mubarak’s regime and was also a minister of civil aviation.

Coptic Christians most fear the election of Mohamed Mursi, the candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood. Other Islamist candidates include Abd al-Mun’im Abu al-Futuh and Muhammad al-Salim al-Awwa.

Although there have been no reliable recent opinion polls, the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies already secured the biggest bloc in the Egyptian parliament during the previous voting.

One of the most important Muslim Brotherhood clerics, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, declared in his sermon Friday that the presidential election should be used to usher in Islamic law, or Shariah.

Qardawi stated it was the duty of Muslims to vote for one of three Islamic candidates, describing them as the “best for Egypt” because they will “apply the Islamic Shariah and achieve justice.”

While Copts were targeted by Islamists during Mubarak’s regime, such persecution has increased exponentially after Mubarak’s ouster.

Just weeks after Mubarak was booted, Muslim villagers in March 2011 reportedly set fire to a Coptic church while attacking Christians on the street.

Since last year, two other churches were set on fire in the Imbaba neighborhood of Cairo and in Edfu in the south of the country. Coptic Christian families were also reportedly evicted from their homes in Alexandria.

Some reports say more than 200,000 Copts already have fled their homes.

When Copts attempted to protest last October, security forces reportedly fired at the protesters, killing 24 and wounding more than 300 people.

The Coptic Church, a major Christian community in Egypt, is said to date back to the origins of Christianity. Christians were the majority in Egypt until several centuries after the Arab conquest of the seventh century. They now make up between 5 and 10 percent of the population.

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