Christians nervous under new president Morsi

By June 26, 2012

Egypt (MNN) — He's only two days into his presidency, but Egypt's president elect Mohamed Morsi has already made some promises to Christians. The question now is whether it's possible for him to keep them.

The Muslim Brotherhood candidate was announced over the weekend to be the winner of Egypt's first democratic election. During his victory speech on Sunday, Morsi pledged to be "a president for all Egyptians," noting that Muslims and Christians both were vital to building Egypt.

If you have been following MNN's coverage of the Egyptian elections in the past few months, you know that many believers in particular are skeptical and even frightened of a Muslim Brotherhood-run Egypt. Although Morsi says he is for women's rights and religious freedom, many are deeply concerned by the Brotherhood's decades-long agenda to overthrow the Egypt's past secular government.

So in reaction to Morsi's speech, Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says, "Speeches are nice, but actions are better."

"Christians now watch and say 'Okay, he said nice words. Now what are his actions going to be?'" Nettleton adds. "That's really what they're looking for: how are his actions going to reflect that? Are they going to reflect respect for the Christian community and respect for religious freedom? Or are they going to be hardline, Islamic, Muslim Brotherhood actions which would limit religious freedom and move Egypt more and more toward a Sharia state?"

Overall, says Nettleton, a lot of believers are not only skeptical that Morsi has a pro-Christian agenda, but, "Understandably, they're nervous about what this means for their future as far as religious freedom, and as far as their ability not only to worship, but also to witness and serve Christ in Egypt."

Persecution in Egypt has been dreadful over the centuries. Egypt is the 15th worst country in which to be a Christian when it comes to persecution, according to the Open Doors World Watch List. Believers are nervous that a government led by a Muslim Brotherhood leader might only increase crackdowns on Christians.

In the midst of transition, says Nettleton, the Gospel will undoubtedly go forward as it has been doing. And it's too early to know how extreme or lax Morsi's regime will be. But Christians are holding their breath until actions start showing up.

There's much room for prayer. Pray for believers to have peace and calmness of spirit. Pray also for Morsi in the coming days as he picks his cabinet members.

"[Pray] that the people who will honor religious freedom — the people who will understand that there is a large Christian community in Egypt that deserves to be protected and deserves to have rights — will get into positions of influence and positions of power."

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