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Christians Killed in Egypt Following President's Ouster
Image: Hiro Komae / AP

Five Egyptian Christians were killed and dozens injured in scattered violence following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, according to a report from Morningstar News.

Meanwhile, 51 pro-Morsi protestors are dead, killed in an altercation with the military, in which details are typically contradictory.

"We cannot be happy yet," said Youssef Sidhom, editor-in-chief of the Coptic newspaper Watani. "It seems Egypt must pay a bloody price before it gains its freedom."

Many Christians agree and worry about the future.

"I think the Muslim Brotherhood will be violent," said Bishop Marcos, a prominent member in the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church. "They insist on restoring Morsi to his position."

The Brotherhood has called for peaceful protests, but has also spoken out against the role of the church in supporting Morsi's removal. Tawadros II, Coptic Orthodox pope, endorsed the removal of Morsi and, along with other prominent leaders, backed a political roadmap for reform. Related or not, violent attacks against Christians—including the murder of a priest—spiked after his statement.

Violence has gone both ways. Unhappy protestors attacked Muslim Brotherhood headquarters across Egypt in the lead-up to June 30, the one year anniversary of Morsi's inauguration. But the military role in the deaths of Islamist protestors bodes ill for the transition.

It also reminds Christians of the death of more than 20 Copts at the Maspero television building during the military-led transition in October 2011. Army tanks rolled over demonstrators as they protested an attack on an Upper Egyptian church.

Many Christians are ready to let bygones be bygones.

"Christians are not so naïve as to hold a grudge from the Maspero massacre," said Sidhom. "But it was Morsi's regime that did not permit that segment of the army from being investigated and punished."

Sidhom also balks at the notion debated in the West that Morsi's ouster was a military coup. He highlights the six month roadmap issued by the civilian interim president, which will elect a new parliament, amend the flawed and religiously-tinged constitution, and finally elect a new president.

When Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected as Egypt's first post-revolutionary president, most Christians gritted their teeth and hoped for the best. After a year of sectarian tension, deteriorating economic conditions, and deep political polarization, they are happy to see him go.

"At last, Egypt is now free from the oppressive rule of the Muslim Brotherhood!" wrote Anglican Bishop Mouneer Hanna Anis of the Episcopal Diocese of Egypt and North Africa.

His words could be echoed by the multitudes that filled Tahrir Square and surrounded the presidential palace on June 30. According to the Rebel Movement which led the protests, 22 million Egyptians gave their signature to demand early presidential elections.

"Christians and Muslims alike expressed their extreme and accumulated anger at Morsi's regime," said Sidhom.

"What took place was a people's revolution, looking to save the January 25 revolution from being hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood to turn Egypt into an Islamic state."

But unlike the January 25 revolution that deposed former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011, this uprising is met with significant social resistance. Islamist supporters of Morsi also organized massive protests, however dwarfed in scale.

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