Egyptians Concerned About Religion in Vote

Parliamentary elections in Egypt scheduled for next month will mark the first time citizens will be able to participate in voting since the ousting of Hosni Mubarak in February. As the uprising in the country progressed, the tension between Muslims and Christians grew, and many people were killed and injured in the process. Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population and have demanded equal rights in the predominantly Muslim nation. Consequentially, concerns have risen about such tensions causing the elections to be delayed. However in a recent poll, 60 percent of Egyptians don't see religion as a decisive factor in their vote. "Religion does not matter. There are Christians who are very good and Muslims who are very good and there are also those from both sides who aren't any good," said Zeinab Afifi, an employee at the Ministry of Justice. "The important thing is that he must have a conscience, he must know that the seat he occupies is not his own but rather belongs to all people," she said. The Freedom and Justice party of the Muslim brotherhood has re-emerged after being banned during Mubarak's era. It is perceived as the best organized for the elections, and Egyptians who are protesting for a secular state are worried should the party claim majority of the seats "There is no doubt and it is no secret that the Muslim Brotherhood heavily occupies the current political scene. Those who believe in the idea of a civil state are worried that if the Muslim Brotherhood should reach power, the state will move towards holding an ideology of a religious state," said Aly el-Samman. "Nobody wants a religious state, Liberals do not want it. And I must say that it isn't just Christians who should worry, but also those who believe that a religious state could be a danger to freedoms of thought and beliefs," he said. Over 50 parties are taking part in the elections which will take place in November. Speakers: Zeinab Afifi -- employee at Ministry of Justice Aly el-Samman - President of the International Union for Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue and Peace Education By Noora Faraj Al Arabiya with Agencies

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