ACM statement on Egyptian parliamentary election

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The first round of Egypt’s complex parliamentary election process is complete.

The elections went ahead despite turmoil in recent weeks where at least 40 pro-democracy protestors were killed by Egyptian security forces and thousands more injured in scenes reminiscent of the Revolution earlier this year.

 

 

Early indications are that the Islamic parties will control the Egyptian Parliament led by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB).  However, official results have not yet been released. Ironically, the MB has named its party “The Freedom and Justice Party”.  It is hard to imagine what type of freedom the MB will promote in Egypt, noting its history and involvement in shaping the directions of Islamic militant groups such as al-Qaeda and other Jihadists.

Even more disturbing is the apparent success of the extremist “Al Nour” party representing the Egyptian Salafi movement, which along with the MB, hope to overhaul Egypt’s film industry, the arts, tourism as well as repressing the country’s indigenous Coptic Christian population by strictly applying sharia law on them and the rest of the population.

To date, it appears the military and Egypt’s Islamic political parties consider the murder of innocent Coptic Christians to be acceptable, with no indication that any member of the military will be tried, convicted or held accountable for the loss of 27 lives on 9 October 2011, dubbed the ‘Maspero Massacre”. On the contrary, it seems the blame has been cast on the victims and their Muslim sympathisers such as Alaa Abdel Al Fattah for the incident.

Copts and Muslim pro-democracy sympathisers continue to be detained in Egyptian jails on flimsy charges whilst attacks on Coptic protestors and pro-revolutionary activists continue unabated.

The Copts’ battle for equal rights and freedom has been a long one for Egypt’s Coptic Christians and the recent crackdown by the military against the Copts and pro-democracy activists in Tahrir (‘Liberation’) Square and other cities has become more complicated with recent developments in the country. Many Copts and liberal minded Egyptians still hold a glimmer of hope that their plight and the plight of all Egyptians will improve with these elections.

Thousands have already voted with their feet and emigrated to western countries (well, at least those who are eligible to obtain visas) where there is promise of protection of basic democratic and human rights.

Yet, there are still millions of Coptic Christians who have remained in their beloved homeland Egypt.  All they can do is hope that, with every vote cast by moderate Muslim and Christian Egyptians alike, those who are elected to run their country will be respectful of their rights to worship freely in an increasingly intolerant and fundamentalist environment where persecution of Coptic Christians has become a way of life.

The Australian Coptic Movement
02/12/2011

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