"The Economy Will Collapse, People Will Starve"
"Many Christians in the rural area today are being persecuted. Homes and fields and shops are being taken. In cities it is not that bad. But outside them, Islamists take by violence and guns and the government does not protect Christians. If the Islamists take over fully, we expect persecution to move into the cities. The economy will collapse, people will starve.
"If that comes, the church will go underground and be oppressed. If the [moderates prevail], we will bring truth and love to the people of Egypt. But we are working to prepare ourselves for either scenario."
Dr. Sameh Maurice, minister, Al-Dubara Church, adjacent Tahrir Square
Egypt's economy is in tatters. There are 45 million Egyptians under age 30, with 90% unemployment in that age category. Bearing in mind the total population of the country is 80-million, 6% of whom are Christian. 25% of the population lives now on $1 a day; a second 25% on $2 a day. Little wonder people are incensed at their social situation. A breeding ground for protest and dissent. Causing less stability, impacting on tourism and investment.
The Coptic Orthodox in Egypt long predate Islam. They represent one of the ancient branches of Christianity. The Christian community has long been oppressed in Egypt by the majority Muslim population, the state and particularly by extremists whom the government rarely took the trouble to apprehend. Egyptian Christians are harassed, denied education, fired from employment, occasionally murdered.
They must declare themselves on all official government documents. Under the Morsi-Muslim Brotherhood government they are no better off than they were under the military government of former President Mubarak. Their position has, in fact, become even more unstable. They had high hopes for more equality, opportunities, positive recognition and shelter under the new constitution. It resulted in a lack of protection of religious freedom; unsurprising, since it was forged by Islamists.
Egypt's Islamist Springboard has not benefited the country's Christian population, the Copts or the evangelical Protestants. Nor will it, realistically, benefit the country as a whole. The country's Christians control a third of business, represent the better educated, are trained as professionals, contributing hugely to the country's social well-being and its economy.
They are in danger of leaving the country under duress of persecution and fear.