As if the Copts don’t have it bad enough.
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt—Like the protesters who have flooded the streets of Egypt in the past week, the country’s large minority of Coptic Christians worry about joblessness and lack of freedoms. But most want President Hosni Mubarak to stay in power.
Fear of what may follow the removal of Mr. Mubarak, a secular strongman who has ruled the country for the past 30 years, is making reluctant supporters out of the country’s Christians, an estimated 10% of Egypt’s 80 million population. Mr. Mubarak has been aggressive in pursuing perceived Islamist extremist groups, a policy that has endeared him to Coptic Christians, not to mention the U.S.
Many Copts worry that Mr. Mubarak’s exit would leave them dangerously exposed—either by chaos, or to a government that may be more tolerant of Islamist extremists.
Pope Shenouda III, head of the Coptic Church, expressed support for Mr. Mubarak in an interview with Egyptian state television on Monday. “We have called the president and told him we are all with you and the people are with you,” Mr. Shenouda said, according to a transcript of the interview on the state television’s website.