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Egypt’s Christians Cautious About Islamist’s Victory

New Egyptian President-elect Mohammed Morsi speaks during his first televised address to the nation at the Egyptian Television headquarters in Cairo 24 June. Christians expressed caution about Morsi's election, saying they hope he will follow through on his pledge to serve all Egyptians. (Photo: CNS/stringer via Reuters)  

“It’s our tough luck to have Morsi for four years to come,” said Amgad Wahby, 35, standing outside of the Catholic basilica in Cairo.

“(The brotherhood) have to change their priorities in order to survive. They need to try to be lenient at the beginning, but in the future they will probably try to return to their old, autocratic style,” he said.

But Wahby said any attempt to restrict religious and human rights would be met with “friction.”

Father Rafic Grieche, spokesman for the Egyptian bishops’ conference, noted that Egypt’s Christians had lived under Islamic regimes for 1,400 years.

“We hope Morsi will be a just ruler,” said Father Grieche. “Mubarak’s time was not fair, and I do not think Morsi could be worse.

“At the same time, the people of Islamic tendencies will be working to Islamicize the society. You don’t need laws to do this. It can happen in day-to-day life,” he said, explaining, for example, that an employer might opt to hire a woman wearing a veil rather than one who did not.

One young woman placed her trust in God.

“I’m disappointed, but I am not afraid. God is there to protect us, life will go on,” said Farah, a 17-year old worshipper at the June 25 Melkite Catholic Mass. “If the worst happens and they try to make changes, then we will object. We will start another revolution. We won’t just give up.”

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Tags: Egypt Middle East Christians Christian-Muslim relations Arab Spring Copts