Egypt's Christians Have Strong Showing at Elections, But Fear Islamic Win

Although Egypt's parliamentary elections were expected to be Muslim-dominated, Christians turned out in large numbers Monday and Tuesday to balance the vote in their favor. Although the results of the post-revolution elections will not be known for weeks, many are concerned the Muslim Brotherhood could end up dominating the government.

According to The Associated Press, many Christians voted for the Egyptian Bloc, represented on the voting ballot by the image of an eye.

The Egyptian Bloc was "discreetly" promoted by Egypt's Coptic Church among followers, encouraging them to vote for this "alliance of leftist and liberal parties sponsored by a Christian tycoon," according to AP.

As of Wednesday morning, the Muslim Brotherhood party claimed its lead in the elections. Others, including the smaller Justice Party, disputed these claims. The true results will only be final after the six-week voting process is complete.

The Associated Press contends that the Coptic Church quietly supports the liberal Egyptian Bloc, but Coptic Christian Bishop Moussa issued a statement Tuesday saying that the church is uninvolved with the country's politics.

Although results are unconfirmed, Christians remain wary of the elections, fearing that radical Islamist groups may win the vote and therefore hold sway in parliament.

"It's not just Christians versus Muslims; it's more about ideology, radical ideology," Father Armia Toufiles of the Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George in Brooklyn, N.Y., previously told The Christian Post.

Christians fear that the increased power of a radical Islam group could further marginalize their religious freedom.

Michael Meunier, president and founder of the U.S. Copts Association, told CP in an email that Christian and newer parties did not have enough time to prepare for Egypt's election.

"In the long run, holding this election now will prove disastrous for the world at large because if the [Muslim Brotherhood] gains hold of power in Egypt, they will never relinquish that power," Meunier said, contending that only the Muslim Brotherhood party and the National Democratic Party are well-prepared for the elections.

Protesters flooded Egypt's major cities this past week to push an end to Egypt's current military rule.

Many fear a radical Islamic parliament will maintain close ties with Egypt's military, thus continuing the oppressive rule of ousted President Hosni Mubarak which Arab Spring supporters fought so hard to end.

"The early election will unfortunately shape this Spring into an Islamic movement instead of the Democratic movement that was intended by those of us who founded this revolution and worked for hard for it for years and went to Tahrrir Square on January 25th and faced death to make it happen," Meunier said.

"We could go from one bad regime to another," contends Jordan Sekulow, director of policy and international operations at the American Center for Law and Justice.

Christians have been anxious about their future in Egypt since the Arab Spring uprisings provided many radical Islamist groups with confidence and power.

Egypt's Christian population has already diminished by 95,000 since the Arab Spring uprisings began in February, according to the Egyptian Federation of Human Rights.

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