Prominent Copts for Sabbāhī, Why?

Sent On: 
Wed, 2014-06-18
Newsletter Number: 

Certainly it turned out to be a losing proposition. While almost all non-boycotting Egyptians lined up behind the candidacy of ‘Abd al-Fattāh al-Sīsī, a few parties held their ground. With nearly all of voting Egypt was also nearly all of the voting church, as Christians joined the groundswell of support for the former military general.

The Constitution Party was one of the few to endorse his opponent Hamdīn Sabbāhī, while the Egyptian Social Democratic Party recognized its internal splits and decided to stay neutral. Among the prominent leadership in both parties are Coptic Christians who came out publicly for Sabbāhī. Why did they stand against the clear will of their co-religionists, and the country at large?

This answer is provided in interviews conducted by Arab West Report with Hala Shukrallah and Ihāb al-Kharrāt. Shukrallah is the head of the Constitution Party, the first Copt and the first woman to ever lead a political party in Egypt. Kharrāt is a founding member of the Social Democratic Party, and a former minister within the Protestant Church.

For Shukrallah’s interview please click here, and for Kharrāt, here. Both explained their choices for Sabbāhī, but also provided a larger context in terms of the 2011 revolution and relations between church and state.

That neither Christians nor Muslims be understood as a single entity without diverse opinions is one of the goals of Arab West Report. Moving beyond stereotypes and assumptions is necessary for better understanding, so please consider these minority perspectives in your analysis of Egypt and her Coptic citizens.


Jayson Casper,

Researcher AWR