The new parliamentary elections in Egypt are enjoying a record turnout and exciting the citizens, but the Coptic Christians minority in the country fear the situation may only get worse for them.
Many of them live in the outskirts of Cairo, in the capital’s slums, and survive as trash collectors. They endure in poverty and discrimination, selling scraps of metal, wood and plastic, and have lived in these conditions for a long time, Voice of America reported.
A man identified as Said shared with the Voice of America's website that Christians in Egypt faced many hardships during the Hosni Mubarak regime. They have experienced violent attacks during the change of the government, and now that the Islamic groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, are set to take over the country, their right to practice the Christian faith may be under threat.
Said shared that some Muslims do not even look at Christians as human. He pointed to the October clashes in Cairo where state officers massacred 25 Christians, with the media inciting Muslims in the country to rise up against the Christian minority. In the past, Christians faced various restrictions, including how and where churches were allowed to be built, and if Sharia Law comes into effect, life will get that much harder.
Another resident, Medhat Sa'ad, expressed fears that under such circumstance women walking the streets without a veil covering their faces could legally be killed. Islamic law has severe punishments for those breaking its moral and judicial law; regardless of what religion they adhere.
Some Egyptian political analysts, however, such as Rania el-Malki, insisted that most Muslims in the country would not support extremist interpretations of the law, and lean towards a moderate view of Islam.