What Awaits Egypt's Christians Under the Muslim Brotherhood
Egypt's Coptic Christian community is quite large, constituting 10% to 15% of the country's population. This community is an integral part of Egypt and its history. In Cairo there is a cathedral on the location where, according to tradition, the Holy Family found refuge during Herod's persecution. On the territory of Cairo in general there are quite a few churches, which form part of the city's landscape.
Stable relations between Copts and Muslims are the key to social peace in Egypt, while interaction between the two communities is the key to the country's progress.
President Mursi will therefore appoint a Copt as his deputy and a woman as his second vice-president. This decision should not be the cause of criticism from his supporters: the Islamists have already won, gaining the upper hand, and will show mercy and understanding. This is precisely Mursi's mission in Egypt's Muslim community: to pacify radicals and extremists.
If Muslims, especially the militaristically minded, had previously seen the Copts as enemies, or at least as rivals, they now nonetheless have grounds to accept them -- even if they are adherents of a different faith -- as fellow citizens who are at a disadvantage. Finishing off the vanquished is not only looked down upon in every religion, but it is simply inhumane and amoral.
It goes without saying that this combination -- Mursi as Islamist president with two vice presidents, one Copt and the other a woman -- is compatible with Egypt's Supreme Military Council. The generals have maintained a significant amount of power in order to keep the balance and not allow the country to slide into radical Islamism.
This past presidential election was the first such experiment in Egyptian society. The winner should understand that he is not the absolute winner, as is evidenced by the minimal margin of votes between candidates. Mursi understands this, which is why he is taking such steps.
It is important that the democratic election process is gradually becoming established in Egypt, moreover with the Supreme Military Council overseeing the development of democratic mechanisms. Mursi took an oath on the country's constitution to observe it and other rules of democratic order during his presidential term.
The defeated have the chance to take revenge during the next election cycle and attempt to bring to power a different kind of policy and ideology -- but most likely not another religious faith. (...)