The Muslim Brotherhood has called on Egypt’s ruling military council to provide security for Christian churches during Coptic Christmas celebrations on 7 January as it did for polling stations during the first two rounds of parliamentary elections.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the group also promised to draw up “popular committees” to help protect churches against "iniquitous hands" that might attempt to spoil Christmas celebrations as happened more than once under "the corrupt regime" of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
Almost one year ago, on New Year’s Eve, more than 20 Coptic Christians were killed when a bomb exploded outside a church in Alexandria. One year earlier, on 6 January, eight Copts were killed outside a church in the Upper Egyptian city of Naga Hammadi.
In January of this year, only weeks before the popular uprising that culminated in Mubarak’s ouster, Muslim activists formed human shields around churches on Coptic Christmas in an expression of national unity.
In its Wednesday statement, the Muslim Brotherhood also announced that a delegation headed by leading group member Mahmoud Ezzat would attend Christmas mass.
Unlike western Christmas, which falls on 25 December, Coptic Christmas is celebrated on 7 January.