The very fact that until the announcement on Sunday June 24th, Egyptians had no idea who would be declared President, is proof of the remarkable change that has taken place in our country since the January 2011 Revolution!
President Mohammad Morsi (who was the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate) is facing incredible challenges …
He needs to satisfy the aspirations of right-wing Muslims who dream of applying Islamic Sharia law in both belief and practice in all areas of private and public life.
On the other hand he needs to demonstrate to moderate Muslims and Christians (up to 30% of the population) that he will champion freedom of expression and equal rights for all Egyptians regardless of creed or political affiliation.
He has already declared that the army should relinquish some of the Presidential powers it appropriated just days before his election. But he must avoid a showdown (the first of which he seems to have lost upon demanding the reinstatement of the dissolved Parliament)
He must quickly appease the masses by beginning to solve some of the endemic economic, employment and supply crises which are escalating at an alarming rate.
While his election was a shock for most Christians, many are relieved that the tensions and violence which could have resulted if he were not elected have been averted. It’s now high time to “Rebuild Egypt” but we still need to draft a constitution and re-elect a Parliament! Many fear that this process will distract us from tackling the complex immediate issues facing the nation.
As the new president tries to work with diametrically opposed aspirations of the different groups, Christians wonder what the future holds and where the priorities will be. In the next 2-3 decades Egypt may be very different than we know it today. Decisions by the new leadership on questions related to a civil state, true democracy, freedom of religion, and rights of minorities are worrying to many.
Ramez Atallah, General Director, The Bible Society of Egypt