WASHINGTON – As many look with concern at the events unfolding in Egypt, an Egyptian human rights activist believes that there is hope in the developments, including for Christians.
Dr. Andrea Zaki Stephanous, general director of the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services, told The Christian Post on Wednesday evening that he did not believe, as others do, that the events in his country were a "Christian Winter."
"It is Arabic Spring and it is not 'Christian Winter,'" said Stephanous.
"It's important for the Christians to know that freedom is never ever a gift from anyone. Freedom and equality are achieved through struggle, participation, and being there."
Stephanous was one of several speakers who attended an Egyptian Summit organized by the World Evangelical Alliance in Washington, D.C., from Feb. 7-8.
The summit focused on the developments in Egypt since the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011.
"We came here from Egypt with our partners and friends from USA and the main objectives at this summit are that we share the challenges, the hopes in a post-revolution context in Egypt," said Stephanous.
"We shared our hopes, our fears, our dreams, but also exchanged ideas."
Topics covered at the summit included how Egyptian society could look in its post-revolution context and what roles Christians should play in the developments.
Since Mubarak was ousted and imprisoned, a temporary military government has been installed and parliamentary elections held. Islamic political groups have won the majority of seats in parliament during the recent elections, causing widespread concern around the world.
But Stephanous said, "Democracy is democracy. If you like the outcomes or if you don't like the outcomes at the end of the day, people voted."
"Democracy is not only majority and minority," he added. "Democracy is a comprehensive concept that goes beyond elections. It's for social cohesion, for social solidarity."
Currently, as violence continues to plague the country, the military government and the Islamic-party- dominated parliament are working on a constitution. Stephanous told CP that it is important for there to be more input in the document than just from the current majority.
"You see, all discussions in Egypt at the moment, they are that the majority or the minority should not alone develop the constitution," said Stephanous.
"I think if the majority alone at the moment take the risk and develop the constitution alone it will be a major mistake."
Other speakers at the WEA summit focused on Egypt included Samira Louka Daniel, chief of operations for the Forum for Intercultural Dialogue; Ibrahim Makram Ghattas, director of CEOSS Development Sector; and Atef Gendy, president of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo.