News / Africa

Egyptians Face Christmas Amid Fears

Egyptian Christians Face Christmas Amid Fears for The Futurei
X
December 24, 2012 7:09 PM
Egyptian Christians will mark Christmas amid concerns that their situation in the country is becoming precarious as Islamists become more prominent. VOA's Al Pessin visited a Christian family in Cairo as it prepared for the holiday.

Egyptian Christians Face Christmas Amid Fears for The Future

Al Pessin
Egyptian Christians will mark Christmas amid concerns that their situation in the country is becoming precarious as Islamists become more prominent.  VOA's Al Pessin visited a Christian family in Cairo as it prepared for the holiday.

Seleem Wassaf and his family are are performing their annual tradition, decorating their Christmas tree. But he says, for Egyptian Christians, the joy of the season is tempered by concern.

“At present they feel that there is something which is a fear, something may happen which they don't like to happen,” Wassaf said.

Seleem's wife Hela, a bank manager, put on a Christmas sweater and pin for the occasion, but her heart is not in it quite as it used to be.

Mrs. Wassaf says Egyptian Christians are praying more and celebrating less this year. She is worried and fears for her future as a working Christian woman in Egypt.

“No joy. Here joy, but not joy,” she said.

It's a feeling shared among many of Egypt's eight million Christians, 10 percent of the population. The Wassaf family is part of a minority within the minority. They are among the 1,000 Egyptian members of the Anglican Church.

Most Egyptian Christians are Coptic Orthodox, and they are the largest Christian community in the Arab World. The selection of a new Coptic pope in November drew worldwide attention.

Egypt's new constitution guarantees the rights of the country's Christians, but many are worried anyway according to Youssef Sidhom, the editor of the Coptic weekly newspaper.

“Well, it's obvious that Egypt is continuously being dragged towards political Islam. And political Islam in the political arena in Egypt does not hide its intentions to work towards establishing an Islamic State,” Sidhom said.

Egypt's Islamists have demonstrated their power on the streets and at the ballot box.

And their rise worries Seleem Wassaf's daughter Sara, a university senior.

“It's really hard. I'm afraid when I hear they want to limit the roles and the work of women. Sometimes I think that if it was applied, I may not work again, or I may not go to college and continue my education. It causes really, really fear.  I can not stop myself of thinking and being a normal human being,” Wassaf said.

Sara has been heartened a bit by some of her classmates, who are coming to her Christmas concert this year for the first time. It's the kind of sign she's been praying for.

“We keep praying for this relationship and for these relations between us and Muslims and that there will be peace,” Wassaf said.

And that, even amid Egypt's turmoil, is after all the theme of the day.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Religious from: Earth
December 25, 2012 1:48 PM
Egyptian government allowed them to practise Christianity on Egyptian soil. Egyptian population is not going and killing them one by one or giving them a hard time. BUT these people are afraid that they MAYBE get attacked MAYBE this or MAYBE that. Nobody is pressuring them? Its just themselves scaring each other and blaming it on muslims?? WTF?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid