- (Photo: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
Christians in Egypt are being intimidated by Islamic extremists, who have adopted a strategy to incite sectarian attacks by targeting the country's Coptic population in order to spark divisions in Egypt based on religious affiliations, according to Nabil Abdel Fattah, a political analyst and researcher specializing in Islamic groups' affairs for the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.
In an interview with Mideast Christian News, Fattah continued that the constitutional declaration issued by Interim President Aldi Mansour, on July 8, created another crisis, as the first article included both Articles 2 and 219 of the suspended constitution.
The Church had objected to both articles, due to their bolstering of Islamic Shariah law in Egyptian governance, which, Fattah said, reflects the president and Supreme Council of the Armed Forces' approval of the Salafist Nour Party's role in political life.
"The Muslim Brotherhood's regime caused a split in Egyptian unity on the basis of religious affiliations," he added.
Abdel Fattah explained to MCN that Islamic currents were responsible for the violence against Coptic Christians in several governorates in Egypt since the dismissal of Mohamed Morsi, and called on current state officials to arrest the perpetrators of these criminal acts.
"The sectarian attacks against Copts are one of the controversial strategies pursued by Islamic extremist currents, in their bid to intimidate Christians," he added. "Whether it is out of revenge for participating in the political process or as a result of the radical ideologies these groups have, [they are] creating a state of anarchy and insecurity across the Egyptian streets, turning current issues into a sectarian conflict to mobilize neutral citizens against their fellow countrymen."
Returning to the constitutional decree, Abdel Fattah, said that Article I allows the ruling authority to impose what they will, purely based on religious reasoning, stratifying the Christian community in the country.
He referred to the second article of the 1971 Constitution, which states that Islamic Shariah principles are the basis of Egypt's legislation for the sake of maintaining the Egyptian State, saying that such articles allowed the Muslim Brotherhood and extremist groups to utilize Shariah in order to "achieve their political goals, changing the nature of the Egyptian regime and society and turning it into a religious state."
As with regards to the new cabinet formation, Abdel Fattah warned of relying solely on personal acquaintances or the absence of youth icons, believing that it would lead to the government's entry into a quandary.
He explained that the Brotherhood's leaders threats, which stated that the terrorist attacks in Sinai will only stop if Morsi returns to rule, is one of the signs that prove their clear involvement in the violence occurring in Sinai. However, he stated his opinion that the clashes would not last for long, as the country had already experienced similar events in the 80s and 90s and was able to control them.