Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Michael Terheyden

6/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Is it really a Spring at all, or a frightening return of an worse Winter?

As the one year anniversary of the election of Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi approaches, tensions are high. Tens of thousands of Islamists have begun pouring into Cairo in anticipation of anti-Morsi demonstrations planned for June 30, 2013, by opponents of the new government. 

Highlights

By Michael Terheyden

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Egypt, Copt, Christian, Islamist, Muslim, President Morsi, Demonstration, Discrimination, Michael Terheyden


KNOXVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - As the one year anniversary of the election of Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi approaches, tensions are high. Tens of thousands of Islamists have begun pouring into Cairo in anticipation of anti-Morsi demonstrations planned for June 30, 2013, by opponents of the new government.

According to France 24, an international news site, Islamists carrying Egyptian flags and pictures of Morsi held a demonstration on Friday, June 21. It was led by the Muslim Brotherhood, and its aim was to show that Morsi and his government had the support of the Egyptian people. But the Egyptian people are clearly divided.

Morsi was elected one year ago, after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in February of 2011. Morsi promised to be the President of all Egyptians, including the Coptic Christian community. He said the Copts would be given full equal rights. At one point Morsi said,  "I will not be biased against any son of Egypt." But this is not what has happened.

Instead, it appears that Morsi has used every opportunity to turn Egypt into an Islamist state since he became president. This past November, President Morsi issued a declaration giving himself sweeping dictatorial-style power over the drafting of Egypt's new constitution. The President's actions unleashed a firestorm.

A group of judges said, "The state of law is at stake." The Vice-President of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Tahani al-Gebali, said that Morsi was now an "illegitimate president." And Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said, "Morsi today usurped all state powers and appointed himself Egypt's new pharaoh."

Protestors marched on the presidential palace in Cairo and clashed with supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. At one point, an estimated 200,000 anti-Morsi protestors flooded into Cairo's famous Tahrir Square.

President Morsi seemingly backed down, but the final Constitution was drafted by a committee dominated by Islamists who used the Constitution to strengthen sharia law. Sharia law highly discriminates against non-Muslims and women.

Since taking office, Morsi has also had run-ins with the national judiciary, the media and the police. More recently, Morsi appointed seven members of the Muslim Brotherhood as provincial governors. He also gave the Luxor governorship to a member of the militant Islamist group responsible for the massacre of 58 foreign tourists in 1997. These appointments led to several clashes between Morsi's supporters and his opponents.

According to his opponents, Morsi is "giving the Islamists a monopoly over public institutions." However, the president's supporters claim he is merely cleaning up corrupt institutions from the days of Mubarak.

Yet, organizers of the June 30 demonstration say they have collected 15 million signatures on a petition which demands the resignation of Morsi. Nevertheless, Ahmed Aqila, a representative of the Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice Party, does not believe it can happen. He said, "Those who say 'President Morsi will be toppled on June 30' live in an illusion they must give up."

The Coptic Christian community has been concerned that the Morsi government is allowing Islamists to act more aggressively toward non-Muslims. Heba Morayef, a director for Regional Human Rights Watch, says that some Muslims are using more discriminatory language on television. He says, "It's very scary because of the sudden uptick in violence, compounded by the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood has in no way tried to reign it back and has at times participated."

For instance, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Safwat Hegazi, recalling demonstrations last December which turned violent, told the Copts, "You share this country with us, but there are red lines, and one red line is the legitimacy of Dr. Morsi. Whoever splashes water on that, we will spill his blood." Hegazi has since been appointed to the National Council on Human Rights in Egypt.

Consequently, some people are nervous about the upcoming demonstration scheduled at the end of this month and with good reason. There is much at stake. Coptic Christians and women have the most to lose, but so too do all Muslims, especially more moderate and secular Muslims.

While spokesmen from both sides are rightly calling for calm, they also realize that people have a right to address the Morsi government. Although he did not officially endorse the upcoming demonstration, according to one source, Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church said, "Members of Egypt's Christian minority are free to express their opinions on the streets, just as they were to vote for whomever candidate they supported in the past presidential elections."

That is the way it should be in a true democracy, and President Morsi knows it. After one of the demonstrations last year, he said, "I will protect for my brothers in the opposition all their rights so they can exercise their role." Now Morsi needs to prove it. Is Egypt a true democracy or not? Will Egypt's Coptic Christians ever share in the Arab Spring, or was it a lie? We shall find out at the end of the month.

Let us pray for the safety of our brave brethren who will be demonstrating on June 30, and for a free Egypt where all Egyptians can live in peace. They are not alone. They are merely on the front lines of a battle that is threatening to engulf Christians throughout the world.

 
-----

Michael Terheyden was born into a Catholic family, but that is not why he is a Catholic. He is a Catholic because he believes that truth is real, that it is beautiful and good, and that the fullness of truth is in the Catholic Church. However, he knows that God's grace operating throughout his life is the main reason he is a Catholic. He is greatly blessed to share his faith and his life with his beautiful wife, Dorothy. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.

-----

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2015
General Intention:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Missionary Intention: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Middle East

Destroying culture: New Islamic State video shows priceless statues beheaded Watch

Image of The five-minute video shows men going at statue after statue, knocking them to the ground and destroying them with sledgehammers and jackhammers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In another atrocity perpetrated against world history and culture, members of Islamic State are shown destroying priceless works of art in a museum in Mosul, Iraq. Some statues are beheaded in the manner of IS' squirming victims. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


ISIS' leading man, the masked Jihadi John's true identity revealed Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The man behind the mask in brutal ISIS execution videos, known as Jihadi John, is assumed to be a British man named Mohammed Emwazi. Jihadi John appears in the beheading videos of American hostages, James Foley and Steven Sotloff and Britan hostages, Alan Henning and ... continue reading


Islamic State butchers 15 captured Christians, calls for Muslims to watch murder of 350 more Watch

Image of Islamic State fighters captured almost 400 Syrian Christians, and are reported to have executed 15.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New reports from Syria reveal that the Islamic State may have murdered 15 of the more than 300 Christians it had captured earlier this week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A Catholic humanitarian group, Aid to the Church in Need, issued a report that the 15 of ... continue reading


Saudi Arabian man sentenced to death after rebelliously tearing up copy of Koran Watch

Image of Protesters simulate a flogging in front of the Saudi embassy in Washington DC in protest against the 10-year prison sentence given to a blogger.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Saudi Arabia has long been a friend to the United States and its allies, a very important hedge against militant Islamist groups and nations in the Middle East. This alignment does have limits - Western diplomats are expected to address the kingdom's many human ... continue reading


ISIS kidnaps 90 Christians from Assyrian villages Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

ISIS has kidnapped at least 90 Christians - mainly women and children - from their homes after launching dawn raids on Assyrian villages. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The ISIS fighters bust past a few men guarding the village of Tal Shamiram around 4 a.m. (9 ... continue reading


TRAPPED FOREVER: A first hand account on the horrific daily life in ISIS' terror captial, Raqqa Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Forced blood donations, daily executions, airstrikes and forced marriages are just a few things those stuck in ISIS' capital city, Raqqa experience. Getting in with ISIS is not the hard part; getting out alive is impossible. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Abu ... continue reading


Young Iraqi Christian's unexpected plans for ISIS will leave you stunned Watch

Image of Young Persecuted Christian's remain in good spirit despite losing everything.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Every day a Christian is persecuted or murdered at the hands of ISIS. Every day someone is forced to run from their homes in Iraq or Syria. It doesn't matter if it is a child or an adult; ISIS doesn't care. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Being uprooted and forced ... continue reading


'Coming to a mall near you' Islamic State threatens shopping malls and other public places around the world Watch

Image of Groups swearing fealty to the Islamic State have sprung up in North Africa and other Middle Eastern nations.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State is not a problem for Syria, Iraq or their neighbors. Its reach has spread, with affiliated groups popping up in northern Africa and lone wolves operating on its behalf in Europe and North America, and it now poses a massive threat to the West. ... continue reading


CHILLING VIDEO surfaces of children being indoctrinated into Islamic State's World of Hate Watch

Image of The nine-minute video posted online depicts camouflage-clad boys standing in formation and obeying the commands of a militant teacher.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In yet another shocking video, Islamic State has now released yet another propaganda video showing boys as young as five being indoctrinated at military-style training camp for "cubs." Seen as a "public reaction" ploy by the terror group, children are shown ... continue reading


Women's rights in Islam - Baghdad's first female mayor arrives during corruption, violence Watch

Image of Dr. Zekra Alwach's appointment is a breakthrough for gender equality in Iraq, where rights groups say discrimination and violence against women is widespread.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dr. Zekra Alwach has been named as the mayor of Baghdad. Alwach has become the first woman in Iraqi history to attain such a position - and she comes at a time of chaos, corruption and violence holds sway in her nation. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25
12 The king said to Queen Esther, 'In the citadel of ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 138:1-2, 2-3, 7-8
1 [Of David] I thank you, Yahweh, with all my heart, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 7:7-12
7 'Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 26th, 2015 Image

St. Isabel of France
February 26: Sister of St. Louis and daughter of King Louis VIII of France ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter