The Muslim Brotherhood has been the focus of international angst since gaining power in Egypt, among other nations. Fears over theocratic plans that could further destabilize international relations and spawn greater internal strife have led to guarded reactions from Western nations and Egyptian minority groups, alike. Now, Coptic Christians, who have suffered already at the hands of extremists, are launching their own counter movement -- the Christian Brotherhood.
Now that Mohammed Morsi has won the presidential election and secured the throne of power, Coptic Christians are fearing for their future. To counter the influence that Islamists will have in parliament and through the presidency, they have launched the Christian Brotherhood as a counterbalance of sorts. Al Arabiya has more about the group's formation and goals:
The idea was first initiated in 2005 by lawyer Mamdouh Nakhla, head of al-Kalema Center for Human Rights, and political analyst Michel Fahmi. It was then adopted by Amir Ayad, member of the Maspero Youths Union for Free Copts, the group established after clashes with military forces in front of the TV building in the Cairo district of Maspero left more than 20 Copts dead.
The Christian Brotherhood has branches in 16 governorates in Egypt as well as four branches outside Egypt, three in Europe and one in Australia.
While the group's roots were set back in 2005, it wasn't until recently that more action was taken to actually get the movement off the ground. In an interview with Al Arabiya, Fahmi talked about upcoming plans and stated the importance of Coptic Christians being able to "establish a body that can resist the Islamist tide."
"We created our group to create a balance in the Egyptian political scene," he said.
So, rather than seeking political power, the Christian Brotherhood's focus is ensuring a balance so that everyone can live peacefully in Egypt. Fahmi was sure to state that his group isn't competing with Muslims, per se, but that it has formed to combat the rise of political Islam. His members, in contrast to the Muslim Brotherhood's adherents and leaders like Morsi, aren't seeking power.
The fear that a religious state was taking form also fueled the decision to complete Christian Brotherhood plans. The overall aim, adds Ayad, is for an alliance that can foster a peaceful response to the Muslim Brotherhood and other similar groups seeking Islamist domination. The coalition will essentially chronicle and keep track of the anti-Coptic actions that unfold in Egypt.
“We will then use all available legal channels to make sure the perpetrators of these actions do not get away with them,” Ayad said.
Considering what Coptic Christians in the region have already faced, there looks to be a great deal of work and documentation ahead for the Christian Brotherhood.
(H/T: Al Arabiya)