News / Ottawa

Egypt's new president worries local Copts

An Ottawa priest tried to calm the trepidation that came over many congregants at St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church Sunday as they learned Mohammed Morsi was declared as the winner in Egypt's presidential election.

“If they try to fight the word of God, fight Christians, then we have to be strong and to defend our faith without fear,” Father Shenouda told Metro following Sunday mass. “We are not afraid of them.”

Coptic Christians in Ottawa said they are concerned about what the future holds with Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and how Egypt’s Christian minority population will be treated and they will be watching Morsi’s first move as president because they fear he would force Christians to convert to Islam.

Shenouda said he prayed that runner up, former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, would win in order to establish a “civil country” and now he will watch what happens next.

He voted for Shafiq because of his experience in politics and, given his “stable” Islamic family background, he would not put political pressure on any religious group, he said.

“This is the concern with the people that Morsi made as he promised to establish an Islamist country,” said Shenouda.

That concern was felt by many congregants at the west-end church.

“It’s a difficult period. Everybody’s looking around to see what’s going to happen,” said Nasser, who refused to give his full name.

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