Brotherhood Emerges Victorious in Egypt Elections

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Radical Islamists have emerged as the biggest winners in Egypt's historic parliamentary elections.

The Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, says it has captured 40 percent of the seats in parliament.

And in a surprise showing, the Salafist Nour Party -- a more hardline fundamentalist group that's pushing for the Islamization of Egypt -- got nearly 25 percent of the vote.

Wednesday, the Muslim Brotherhood hit the airwaves and mosques across Egypt, calling for Islamic Sharia to be the basis of all law in Egypt.

"The Salafis have wrapped themselves around the mantel of religion," Egyptian reformist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed Elbaradei said.

 "They have also a lot of money, I hear, in campaigning," he added.

The results have unnerved neighboring Israel, which has always feared that the "Arab Spring" could lead to Islamist governments taking control in the Middle East.

This week, Israel urged Egypt to preserve their 1979 peace treaty with the Jewish state.

"We hope that any government that will be formed in Egypt will recognize the importance of the existence of the peace contract with Israel, as value in itself, and also as a foundation for the economic and security stability of the region," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Meanwhile in the Gaza Strip, Hamas -- a group with close ties to the Brotherhood -- celebrated the election results.

"Hamas is celebrating because Hamas is from the Muslim Brotherhood," CBN News editor John Waage explained. "So if the Muslim Brotherhood gains in Morocco, in Libya, in Tunisia and now they are gaining in Egypt, that means its more support for Hamas against the Palestinian Authority, among the Palestinian people."

"And they are expected to have elections next May so Hamas feels like they are sitting pretty right now," he added.

The prospect of an Islamist victory has Egypt's Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the population, terrified that one day strict Islamic law will be imposed.

The Christians voted for the secular Egyptian Bloc, which could emerge as the second place winner.

"I demand the Muslim brothers who practice Islamic politics, put religion aside. Religion is very sacred -- politics is a dirty game and religion is above all," said Osama Jirjis, a Christian protester.

The win of the Islamists at the ballot box has many Christians wondering whether to stay and fight for equal rights, or leave.

"There's an increasing number who have fled the country, particularly those who've been threatened by the military," Paul Marshall, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, told CBN News.

"But others, particularly among the young people, they believe it is time to standup for their rights, and they are going to stay, and they are going to struggle," Marshall said. "And this is a church that has struggled for centuries. It is not new to them."

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Islamist parties in Egypt to "embrace democratic norms and rules" by creating a government that honors human rights.

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Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.