Islamists claim early victory in Egypt’s elections

By December 2, 2011

Egypt (MNN) — Although Egypt is awaiting results from its first election
since its February revolution, Islamists are claiming victory.

President and CEO of Open Doors USA Carl
Moeller says, "Indications are that the Muslim Brotherhood's candidates
are maybe going to take about 40% of the seats in the Parliament for
re-elections. That's within the expectations of our people there, and it is not

In line with what religious rights watchdog groups have been
saying, the Muslim Brotherhood, kept in check by ousted president Hosni
Mubarak, is emerging as the frontrunner. That could mean trouble for Christians
in the not-too-distant future.

Moeller adds, "The Muslim Brotherhood is not
necessarily the most extreme of the groups vying for power in Egypt. Recent
experience also tells us that the Military Party also has not respected the
rights of Christians over the last months and years, either." Hardline Salafists could form a majority in Parliament.

Believers need to prepare for a different religious climate
in which they can practice their faith.
Already, Moeller says, "There have been significant reports of
increased violence against Christians. We know Christians whose churches have
been burned, and thousands who have been affected by extremist groups. Hopefully
a new government will produce more protections for the Christians, but that's
not necessarily something that people are expecting."

Christians turned out en masse to vote. With the early returns going to the Muslim Brotherhood,
leaders of their party promise to strive for a non-military, non-religious state
that respects human rights. However, Moeller isn't so sure. "Even if
the numbers I said about the Muslim Brotherhood are true, it doesn't mean that
there will be a majority of people in Egypt who are pro-Democracy, pro-Christian.
I think what the Christians are expecting is an increase in tension."

It's the first stage of a parliamentary election that will
last until March. "We have concerns, but we're still waiting to see what
the outcome of the total count is all about," adds Moeller. Results will reveal the political trends in a
country that has not had a free vote in 60 years.

In a country with the Middle East's largest Christian
minority, recent practices of "tolerance" don't hold a lot of weight. Attacks Monday against several Coptic communities
left two dead, several wounded, and
business and homes burned. With that kind of hostility going into the
electoral process, Moeller says it's no
wonder that "many are fearing that there will be a decrease in the
capacity of Christians to freely exercise their faith, (as well as) further restrictions
on their public activity."

Even as the votes are tallied, there is one thing believers
can do. Moeller notes, "Religion and politics, particularly in
this part of the world, are inseparable. It's very appropriate for us to look
at a religious response." 

Moeller reminds believers of I Corinthians 12:26 — "If one
part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part
rejoices with it." He concludes, "A Christian response to this
would primarily be a recommitment to pray for our brothers and sisters in the
Middle East."

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