Fear of Islamist Rule
The draft constitution, finalized by Islamists on a Constituent Assembly despite a boycott by liberals and Christians, has polarized Egypt, bringing out huge rival street rallies by both camps in the past four weeks.
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Opponents of Morsi accuse him of ramming the document through and, more broadly, of imposing a Brotherhood domination of power. Morsi supporters, in turn, accuse his opponents of seeking to thwart a right to bring Islamic law they say they earned with election victories the past year. In response, the Muslim Brotherhood — which usually keeps a moderate tone toward Christians — has turned toward more inflammatory rhetoric.
Senior Brotherhood figure Mohammed el-Beltagi in a newspaper interview this week depicted mass anti-Morsi rallies outside the presidential palace in Cairo this month as mainly made up of Christians, hinting at a Christian conspiracy against the president.
In a recent speech, Safwat Hegazi, a famous Islamist preacher linked to the Brotherhood, warned Christians against joining forces with former Mubarak regime figures to topple Morsi. In Assiut, Tobia, Ramzy and other Christian activists spoke of an atmosphere of intimidation ahead of the vote, including the large Islamist march.
They said threatening messages were sent on mobile phones and on social networking sites. During an opposition demonstration on Dec. With tension building up over the last four weeks, many Christian voters registered at polling centres located in predominantly Muslim areas did not vote, fearing violence, they said. But American Muslims are a different story.
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They are natural candidates for assimilation. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that Muslim Americans exhibit the highest level of integration among major American religious groups, expressing greater degrees of tolerance toward people of other faiths than do Protestants, Catholics or Jews.
Given time, American Muslims, like all other religious minorities before them, will adjust their legal and theological traditions, if necessary, to accord with American values. In the 20th century, we thrived by promoting a Judeo-Christian ethic, respecting differences and accentuating commonalities among Jews, Catholics and Protestants.
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