Egypts Christians Cautious About Islamists 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)
26 Jun 2012 by Michael Gunn
CAIRO (CNS) — Christians expressed caution
about the election of Islamist Mohammed Morsi as
Egypts new president, saying they hope he will follow
through on his pledge to be a president for all Egyptians.
We have to accept Morsi and now we will see
what he will do, said Michel Agram, 45-year-old
worshipper at the Melkite Catholic Church in Cairos
Heliopolis district June 24.
Not all Egypt wants Morsi. You can see that
from the results, Agram said of the narrow 882,000-vote
margin of victory over Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime
minister under ousted President Hosni Mubarak. I would
hope he (Morsi) knows this and will act accordingly.
The election of Morsi, 60, chairman of the Islamic
Brotherhoods Freedom and Justice Party, has fed fears
among Christians and more liberal Muslims that the
Islamists will use their political mandate to impose
conservative restrictions on dress and behavior.
A statement to Morsi from the Coptic Catholic
Church June 25 praised his apparent willingness ... to
work with skilled people of all groups and sectors of
society to achieve the common good.
We pray that the Lord gives you success ... in
developing the institutions necessary for the realization of
a modern democratic civil state — a state that respects the
rights and freedoms of everyone and guarantees security,
peace and social justice.
The June 24 declaration of Morsi as the winner of
the June 16-17 vote followed a week of uncertainty in
which Egypts military ruling council introduced
constitutional amendments that stripped the presidency of
most of its powers and disbanded Parliament, giving the
generals legislative authority and oversight in the drafting
of the constitution. The military police also were granted
broad powers to detain civilians.
The military council promised to turn over power
to the new president by June 30.
Prior to the election announcement, Coptic Bishop
Kyrillos William of Assiut, Egypt, told Catholic News
Service he did not think Morsi will have so much
The armys moves mean he doesnt have a
constitution or Parliament to help him, the bishop said.
From the beginning the army promised a civil
state. It was essentially a guarantee, he added.
Shafiqs avowed secularism and pledge to use a
firm hand to restore security had won him the backing of
many Christian voters. He also was the military councils
For his part, Morsi promised a civil, democratic,
constitutional and modern state. He has said his
administration will include women and minorities in key
positions, pledges met with skepticism by many
Tags: Middle East Christians Egypt Christian-Muslim relations Arab Spring Copts