Islamist Constitution Spells Trouble for Egypt's Christians
Egypt has approved a new, pro-Islamist constitution, and Christians and other minorities foresee bleak and repressive days ahead, Patheos.com reports. Voter turnout in the two-stage nationwide referendum was reportedly limited, and Christians were particularly underrepresented -- as low as 7 percent in some areas. Intimidation from Islamists kept many away from the polls, and in one instance, an estimated 50,000 pro-constitution Egyptians marched through Christian areas of the city of Assiut before the election. Men on horseback with swords led the way -- evoking the seventh-century Muslim conquest -- as marchers chanted that Egypt would be "Islamic, Islamic, despite the Christians." Under the new charter, the rights of Christians and other religious minorities are "undermined beyond salvage," says Hudson Institute scholar Samuel Tadros. According to Arizona congressman Trent Franks, who co-chairs the bipartisan International Religious Freedom Caucus, "The first few constitutional articles -- the foundation of Egypt's new legal framework -- are especially frightening once the implications are assessed and the articles are viewed in context o one another."