Islamist Rallies Blamed for Low Turnout Among Egypt’s Christians

Once Courted by FJP, Egypt's Christians Fear Persecution

by Jason Ditz, December 19, 2012

Egypt’s ruling Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has made a very public point of courting the nation’s Christian minority since its founding,  an effort to convince people that despite its Islamist leadership it is a party aiming to representing all Egyptians, even religious minorities.

Yet ahead of the constitutional referendum, Christian communities in southern Egypt report concerted efforts by many of these same Islamists to intimidate and discourage them from voting. 50,000 Islamists marched through Assiut chanting that Egypt would be “Islamic, despite the Christians.”

Turnout in some Christian areas in the south were as low as 7 percent, reflecting fear of attacks, and some church officials even reported voters being pelted with stones if they did try to head out.

This has Christians, particularly in the south, fearing that the honeymoon is over, and that the new, post-constitution Egypt will be much less welcoming of them than initially advertised.

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