“There can be no doubt that the Muslim Brotherhood will have a significant role to play in post-Mubarak Egypt. And that is good thing.” — Reza Aslan
Oh, sure, it’s a good thing. Except for Copts. And women. And apostates from Islam. And anyone who wants to live free.
“Copts to shun Islamists in Egypt’s presidential vote,” by Yasmine Saleh for Reuters, May 15:
(Reuters) – Egypt’s Coptic Christians complained of discrimination under Hosni Mubarak but fear it may get worse if an Islamist takes his place in next week’s presidential election.
Long-suppressed Islamists already dominate parliament. Islamist contenders for the presidency say Christians, who form about a tenth of Egypt’s 82 million mostly Muslim people, will not be sidelined, but mistrustful Copts will not vote for them.
The single biggest Coptic grievance and the source of most sectarian violence in Egypt is legislation that makes it easy to build a mosque but hard to construct or even repair a church.
That’s Sharia. Islamic law forbids the building of new churches and the repair of old ones.
A new mosque needs only a permit from the local district. A church needs extra paper work and the president himself must sign off, a task Mubarak eventually delegated to city governors.
Coptic voter Medhat Malak hopes those discriminatory rules will be changed if his choice for president wins – Mubarak’s last prime minister and former military commander Ahmed Shafiq.
He worries that an Islamist head of state would make life more uncomfortable for Copts, who blame ultra-orthodox Salafi Muslims for a surge of attacks on churches since Mubarak’s overthrow in a popular uprising 15 months ago.
“Islamist policies on Christians are vague. It is possible they would restrict our freedoms to gain popularity among strict Muslims at our expense,” said Malak, 33, whose Cairo church has been the centre of a row over whether it has a proper license….
During a televised campaign debate, Moussa asked Abol Fotouh whether Muslims had a right to convert to Christianity. Abol Fotouh said a Muslim who did so would face efforts to make him return to his old faith all his life – a stance comparable to a Catholic priest trying to save a lost member of his flock.
The main Islamic schools of thought consider converting a forbidden act, but differ over how to deal with it, with some strict Muslims saying such apostasy is punishable by death….
Actually, all the Muslim schools of jurisprudence prescribe death for apostasy, in accord with Muhammad’s dictum, “If anyone changes his religion, kill him.”
“I want to feel relaxed in my country,” said Ayman, a 36-year-old Coptic taxi driver, giving only his first name.
He had earlier tried to cover the traditional cross tattooed on his hand when he saw a veiled Muslim woman request a ride, but made his feelings clear when asked about the election.
“I want a fair, liberal person to balance the spread of Islamists. Only God knows what they would do to us and to moderate Muslims if they won.”
Yes, but we have a pretty fair idea.