A large number of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority are backing presidential front-runner Ahmed Shafiq.
The 70-year-old former prime minister represents their best hope for a secular presidency, something Copts worry will not happen if an Islamist candidate wins.
“People see what happened with the Islamists in the parliament and Shura Council. People won’t make the same mistake twice,” said one man in Cairo waiting to vote.
Another woman said she felt it was time for someone other than an Islamist: “Frankly from what I see, the Copts fear the current Islamists. I think because they won control of the parliament and the Shura council, they should leave the presidency to a Liberal.”
“I won’t deny it, there really is fear. People are scared of the Islamists because they are ultra extremists,” said this woman, describing the feeling of many Coptic Christians.
“I can tell you that it’s not only the Copts that are scared, many Muslims are afraid too,” said another man.
Shubra district is home to the majority of Cairo’s Coptic Christians, who already felt marginalised under ousted President Hosni Mubarak and are hoping for better treatment this time around.
Our correspondent in Cairo said: “The fears that Copts have of an Islamists winning the presidential election is pushing them to vote for liberal candidates in order to avoid possibility of sharia law being applied in Egypt.”
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