The first free election in Egypt's history has captured headlines worldwide with its unexpected runoff between a Mubarak regime figure and a Muslim Brotherhood leader.
Less known is that 17 Coptic evangelical leaders met with five Muslim Brotherhood counterparts at the Brotherhood's headquarters on February 28, and crafted a joint statement of common values, which both sides agree the new Egyptian constitution and government should uphold. Evangelicals comprise a minority of Egyptian Christians, almost 90 percent of whom are Coptic Orthodox.
The 10-point agreement touches on historically controversial issues, including citizenship, religious freedom, the construction and repair of churches, equality of opportunity, and the application of Shari'ah law.
Christianity Today probed these issues more deeply with representatives from both parties in order to create the explainer below.
Andrea Zaki is vice president of the Protestant Churches of Egypt and general director of the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services.
Mahmoud Ghozlan is the official spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Did Egyptian evangelicals signal agreement with Shari'ah law?
Yes, though it is more complicated than that. Article Two of the pre-revolutionary Egyptian constitution stipulated that Islam is the religion of the state and the principles of Islamic Shari'ah are the primary source for legislation.
Almost no Egyptians—liberal, Christian, or otherwise—call for the cancelation of this article. Debate surrounds the word "principles" rather than the more restrictive "rules," and whether or not the article should be amended to allow non-Muslims to rule on personal and family affairs according to their scriptures.
Zaki: "There is a major difference ...1