Egypt: Does the Revolution Include the Copts?

Nelly van Doorn-Harder in openDemocracy:

One of the concerns discussed in the western press is the issue of what it will mean for the country’s new democracy if the trans-national Muslim Brotherhood, the country's oldest Islamic movement, gains the majority vote. For the moment there are few organized political groups in Egypt capable of creating new governmental structures. In the 2005 elections Brotherhood members earned twenty percent of the seats in parliament, and over fourteen hundred charitable foundations make the organization immensely popular among Egypt’s poor and lower classes.

Mr. Subhi Saleh, the Brothers’ representative in the transition committee creating a new government, maintains that he advocates democracy. Yet, many Egyptians perceive the entire committee to be Islamist oriented. It has proposed amending the laws concerning presidential elections, but not the second article of Egypt’s soon-to-be-revised Constitution: “Islam is the Religion of the State. Arabic is its official language, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Shar`iah).” This article coincides with the Brotherhood’s 2007 Charter and does not guarantee equal citizenship for all Egyptians – one of the main demands of many groups involved in the January 25th Revolution.