"We need Mubarak. What we need above all is to be safe." They weren't safe under Mubarak, but they're even less likely to be safe under the Muslim Brotherhood. More on this story. "Coptic Christians Worry About Future Without Mubarak," by Marc Champion in the Wall Street Journal, February 1 (thanks to all who sent this in):
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt--Like the protesters who have flooded the streets of Egypt in the past week, the country's large minority of Coptic Christians worry about joblessness and lack of freedoms. But most want President Hosni Mubarak to stay in power.
Fear of what may follow the removal of Mr. Mubarak, a secular strongman who has ruled the country for the past 30 years, is making reluctant supporters out of the country's Christians, an estimated 10% of Egypt's 80 million population. Mr. Mubarak has been aggressive in pursuing perceived Islamist extremist groups, a policy that has endeared him to Coptic Christians, not to mention the U.S.
Many Copts worry that Mr. Mubarak's exit would leave them dangerously exposed--either by chaos, or to a government that may be more tolerant of Islamist extremists.
Pope Shenouda III, head of the Coptic Church, expressed support for Mr. Mubarak in an interview with Egyptian state television Monday. "We have called the president and told him we are all with you and the people are with you," he said, according to a transcript of the interview on the state television's website....
"We need Mubarak. What we need above all is to be safe," said Samy Farag, director of the St. Mark's Hospital, which is attached to the church and where the dead and injured were brought immediately after the bombing.
"We feel safer with him because he heads a big, strong party. If he leaves, parties will come to power that we don't know," said the 65-year-old doctor. He added that this included any government that might be headed by Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Prize winner and former international nuclear official.
"We just don't know what their policies toward Christians would be," Dr. Farag said....