Coptic Leader Asked for Military Protection as Threats of Christmas Violence Increase

Kamal Zakher, founder of the Coptic Secular Front, said Coptic Christians will continue to be subjected to acts of terrorism not only for sectarian, but also for political reasons as a way for the Muslim Brotherhood to continue to disrupt Egypt's transition road map.

Zakher called on the army to secure churches during Christmas and New Year celebrations, as the military institution has the ability to do so if it has real "intentions" to protect Copts.

Zakher told Mideast Christian News that Islamists are trying to disrupt and confuse the country to hamper the transition, according to which Egypt is currently administered. Egyptian political transition is geared toward the Islamic tide represented by the Muslim Brotherhood.

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"Turmoil can be made through terrorist operations that terrorize people, and Copts are the most sensitive category [to be targeted]," Zakher added.

Targeting Copts would not be just for sectarian reasons but for political reasons as well, he said, since any operations against them would go beyond Egypt's borders to the wider world, which may blame Egypt's leaders for failing and being unable to run the country successfully.

He noted that targeting Copts has been used to deliver certain messages since the 1970s and 1980s and the army has to claim responsibility for the protection of the churches in the context of protecting the security of the country. He stressed that the army can protect the churches if it has the "intention" to do so.

Political analysts have warned of violence against Copts, especially with the approach of Christmas. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo released a statement earlier warning citizens of a possible new wave of violence.

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