“We’re told it’s a good thing that they decided to change the date of parliamentary elections to avoid their falling on the Easter holidays,” said Nabil, a Coptic-Christian silversmith in Cairo’s Heliopolis district. “I was really dismayed by the original date, but – let’s face it – these aren’t the easiest times for Christians.”
Speaking shortly after Egypt’s presidency changed the electoral timetable – which had initially failed to take into account Coptic Easter celebrations – Nabil said: “It’s not just the Muslim Brotherhood [the group from which President Mohamed Morsi hails]; the state never really paid much attention to Easter under [ousted president Hosni] Mubarak, too.”
He added: “The Muslims don’t recognise Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, and as such Easter never meant much to the state.”
On Sunday evening, the presidency brought the date for parliamentary polls forward – from 27/28 April to 22/23 April – “in compliance with the demands of Coptic members of the Shura Council,” the upper house of Egypt’s parliament, which is currently endowed with legislative powers.