Can Egypt’s Christian Assistant President Get Democracy Back on Track?

Samir Marcos

Four and a half months into Mohamed Morsy’s presidency, much of Egypt’s democratic transition is still on hold. Parliament remains dissolved. A new constitution is still pending, beset by legal challenges. In this political limbo, Morsy has appropriated even more power than former dictator Hosni Mubarak enjoyed before the January 2011 revolution.

However, alongside Morsy in this limbo is Samir Marcos, a Coptic intellectual serving as assistant president for democratic transition.

This is the opening of my new article on Christianity Today, discussing if it was wise for him to join an Islamist administration, and, if he will have a real voice. Please click here for the full article, featuring diverse Coptic answers to these questions.

“We told him, ‘Accept the position and be involved in the administration, and we will be behind you and support you. But if you feel you are being marginalized and not listened to, resign and make this clear to everyone,'” said Gaziri.

Of course, others disagree.

“The Muslim Brotherhood’s reputation in the international community will improve with him there, but Copts will not gain anything,” said Mamdouh Nakhla, head of the Word Center for Human Rights. “It is very difficult to change the regime from the inside.”

But I appreciate this perspective:

“The most unwise thing to do would be to refuse working with the administration due to its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said. “Despite our different perspectives concerning the civil state, we must maintain at least the minimum of dialogue so that we can work together for the good of Egypt.”

It is well and good to play politics, and Christians, like all people, can disagree about how to play it properly. But at the end of the day, the defining criteria must be to do what is right, even if others will take advantage.

There are degrees of right and wrong, so one must be very careful before rejecting the political stance of another. For someone like Nakhla, who is convinced the Muslim Brotherhood is a hypocritical, power hungry organization, it can certainly be ‘right’ not to aid or abet them.

Still, for good or for ill, they are currently entrusted with running the state for the good of the country. Succeed or fail, all citizens must work for the same aim. I believe Marcos is doing well.

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