As Egyptians prepare to vote Wednesday and Thursday, Coptic Christians are especially nervous.

The Coptic Church dates back 19 centuries and is based on the teachings of St. Mark, who brought Christianity to Egypt in the first century. Copts are about 10 percent of the Egyptian population, but the rise of Islamist parties since the revolution has created great insecurity.

“At the beginning, there were a lot of hopes [in the revolution],” I was told by Samia Sidhom, managing editor of Watani, a newspaper started by her father and now edited by her brother. Copts flocked to Tahrir Square, and in one famous scene, surrounded Muslim protesters to protect them while they prayed.

“We thought the revolution would solve our grievances,” Sidhom said, referring to the community’s difficulties in getting permits to open new churches, and attacks on their places of worship by extremists. One particularly terrible incident was the bombing of a church in Alexandria that killed 21 people just before the Tahrir Square revolt began.

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