Church: 70% of Copts voted during first phase of elections

Emad Khalil
04/12/2011

Christians do not fear the rise of Islamists in Egypt — what scares them instead are electoral tactics that go against religious teachings that are used by so-called religious people, said Father Rady Attallah Iskander of the Anglican Church of Alexandria.

Iskander told Al-Masry Al-Youm that most Islamists winning seats in the parliamentary elections, such as Muslim Brothers and Salafis, do not believe in democracy and the devolution of power, such as Salafi Sheikh Abdel Moneim al-Shahat, who has said that leaders of Islamic countries should remain in their positions for life.

“Religious people should be role models and examples of honesty for others,” said Iskander. “Islamists must reconsider their ideas and must not repeat the mistakes of the dissolved National Democratic Party.”

Iskander said the Church’s political tutelage of Coptic voters ended following the 25 January revolution as the Coptic youth became politically mature.

Naguib Gabriel, director of the Egyptian Union for Human Rights Organizations, filed a lawsuit at the State Council on Saturday against the head of the High Elections Commission in which he demanded a stop to the announcement of the election results in which the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafi-led Nour Party won the majority of single-winner and party-list seats.

“The lawsuit was based on the violation of the constitutional declaration and the political rights law, as it is stated in Article 4 of the March constitutional declaration, that it is not allowed to directly engage in political activity or form political parties on the basis of religion,” said Gabriel.

In other news, Coptic leaders said Coptic voter turnout was very high during the first phase of elections, with Bishop Morcos of Shubra claiming that some 70 percent voted.

Head of the Anglican Communion Safwat al-Bayaadi said that Coptic voter turnout was higher than any other time in Egypt’s history and that high participation was one of the most positive aspects of the elections.

The Coptic Church’s spokesperson, Father Rafik Gereish, said that Christians — as part of the Egyptian people — came out in large numbers in the first free and fair elections, so as to end their isolation from society.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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