Many Egyptian Christians felt marginalized under former President Hosni Mubarak and are voting to keep an Islamist from replacing him, out of fear their community would be further sidelined.
In Shubra, a working-class Cairo neighborhood home to many Copts, voting lines were long, and the worry and tension felt by many Christians was palpable.
“I don’t want the Islamists. If they come to power and I oppose them, they will say I am criticizing their religion, and who knows what they’ll do to me? We can’t talk to them,” said 57-year-old Sanaa Rateb after casting her ballot.
Dressed in a floral jacket topped with a pearl necklace, Rateb railed against those, including the Muslim Brotherhood, who object to a Christian or a woman running for president.
“It’s a mistake. Where is the principle of citizenship in all this? I have the right, as a woman or as a Copt, to stand for the presidency if I want,” she said.
[Excerpt—See accompanying URL for full original text]