46. Muslims’ unspoken fears

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Many Copts have expressed fears that the Muslim Brotherhood’ rise to power will ultimately mould Egypt into a conservative Islamic state, where Copts will be treated as second-class citizens. Fahmī Huwaydī, on the other hand, believes these "Coptic fears” to be groundless, arguing that Copts in Egypt live a more stable and comfortable life than their fellow Muslims.

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[Editor: This article expresses a widespread Muslim belief. This is that Muslims are treated unjustly while Christians in Muslim countries receive protection from the U.S.. Christians, on the other hand, often present themselves as victim of Muslims. When both Muslims and Christians present themselves as victims of the other, a dangerous climate is created which tends to be an easy feeding ground for rumors, tensions and even violence]

The unprecedented number of seats that the Muslim Brotherhood has secured in the recent parliamentary election has raised many fears about the future of the political process in Egypt. Egyptian Copts, secularists and liberals are the ones most worried that the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power would put their interests at stake.

Fahmī Huwaydī writes that the major opposition group, the Brotherhood, has only gained 88 seats in the 454-member assembly, less than 20 percent of the total. He makes it clear that this small number of seats will not affect the voting process in the parliament [Editor: This seems to be an understatement by the author. The number is larger then in any previous election].

During the past two weeks, many writers and thinkers have expressed their fears over the Muslim Brotherhood’ rise to power. Huwaydī believes that Egyptian Christians live a more stable life than their fellow Muslims. According to the author, Egyptian Copts are now living under the protection of a strong church, which is now able to defy the state and dictate terms to the government. [Reviewer: The author is referring to the Wafā’ Costantine issue, when the church ordered that the priest’s wife, who had concerted to Islam, be handed over to priests at the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo]. Huwaydī says that when two Christian women converted to Islam, Pope Shenouda III retired to a monastery and insisted that the two be handed over to the church [Editor: Wafā’ Costantine and Mary ‘Abd Allāh, see AWR 2004, 51, art. 13]. Huwaydī makes it clear that over 10,000 young Muslims have been detained under the Egyptian Emergency Law. Those young men, Huwaydi&#
x304; adds, did not find a single official to side with them and to ask for their legal rights.

Huwaydī makes it clear that Christians in Egypt are strongly backed by U.S. Copts, who make an opportunity of international gatherings to voice their concerns over the position of the Coptic minority in Egypt.

The United States reshaped its foreign policy in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Huwaydī writes that "under the pretext of combating terror, the United States has destroyed Afghanistan, occupied Iraq and threatened Yemen.”

According to Huwaydī, the western world, led by the United States, is keeping a close eye on religious minorities in the Arab and Muslim world. "Media, Friday sermons, educational curricula and political platforms are all monitored by the United States,” he clarifies. As a result of this foreign interference, many Qur’ānic verses have been removed from school textbooks.... Friday sermons have been unified nationwide in many countries,” he added.

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