CAIRO // Rafik Habib likes to finish his days at a Costa Coffee shop near his home in Rehab City on the outskirts of Cairo. He drinks an espresso, reads the newspapers … and defends the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Islamist organisation needs little help from one man: surveys show it has support from at least 15 per cent of Egyptians. But Dr Habib is an exception. He is a Coptic Christian intellectual who crossed sectarian lines to join the Brotherhood’s newly established Freedom and Justice Party as third-in-command.
“A large segment of Muslims think it was a good step, except some Salafis,” he says in his sparse office dotted with 1970s furniture.
“But the Christian community in general has refused my choice, and especially my decision to join as a founder.”
Some of his detractors have said his position in the group is merely cosmetic, but Christians have been more vitriolic, calling it an act of treason.
For Dr Habib, 52, it was one of the most difficult political decisions of his life.