Egypt’s voters have approved a new constitution, and Coptic Christians are optimistic that their rights will be adequately protected.
Over 20 million Egyptians have voted in the referendum on a new constitution, and the High Elections Commission announced that 98 percent voted “yes.”
According to the Associated Press, the new constitution “ban[s] political parties based on religion, give[s] women equal rights and protect[s] the status of minority Christians.”
One Egyptian Christian, Heba Girgis, said she was harassed on her way to vote in 2012 and prevented from casting her vote Islamist-backed constitution.
This year, she says, was different.
“I cast my ballot as I pleased. I am not afraid of anybody,” she says. “Last time I wanted to say no. I waited in line for two hours before the judge closed the station.”
On her way back from casting her vote for the new constitution, Girgis added, “This time we said 'yes' and our opinion matters. This is for our children, for all those who died and suffered. Our word now carries weight.”
Coptic bishops in Egypt say that the constitution represents a crucial step for religious liberty, and that the overwhelming result provides a clear government mandate to protect religious minorities.
“We are very, very happy about the constitution result,” Bishop Kyrillos William reported. “When the result came through, there was singing and dancing for joy.”
Posted: January 21, 2014