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Egyptian Christians Throw Weight Behind Sisi

Egypt’s Coptic Christian community is expected to overwhelmingly back Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in this month’s presidential election.

Hailed as a savior for overthrowing an Islamist president, former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi can count on the vote of Egypt’s Coptic Christians who view him as a bulwark against fundamentalists.

The Copts are the Middle East’s largest religious minority, and have long suffered sectarian violence that culminated in attacks on churches by supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohammad Morsi last year.

A controversial character because of his clampdown on Islamists, El-Sisi promised that if elected he will safeguard his country’s peace treaty with Israel. He also called on Hamas to recognize Israel.

Islamists have repeatedly targeted Egypt’s Copts in recent years, leaving hundreds dead and wounded.

The state’s new constitution that effectively paved the way to El-Sisi’s run for office also enshrined the Copts’ citizenship rights. In welcoming the constitutional change, Coptic Pope Tawadros II was somewhat understated when referring to the slaughter of his people.

…as neighbours at home, partners at work, friends in schools and colleges, Muslims and Christians have been living in harmony for more than 14 centuries. “But some problems between Copts and Muslims pop up from time to time. The new constitution will help solve these problems, so that justice and peace prevail.”

[Photo: Sherif9282 / Wiki Commons]