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'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Middle East

A HEINOUS NEW LOW: Syrian rebels sabotage vaccinations, killing 50 babies Watch

Image of Physicians for Human Rights, a New York-based group that works in rebel-held areas of northwest Syria, sent an internal e-mail saying that up to 50 children may have died from the vaccine.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As proof of their bravery, rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are suspected of sabotaging a batch of measles vaccinations, leading to the deaths of up to 50 young children. If true, it's a new low in an especially discouraging chapter of ... continue reading


Casualty of war; Syrian children fall behind in studies Watch

Image of Even if they should survive and thrive after the civil war in their nation of Syria ends, millions of school children, deprived of an education during the conflict, will be a generation of ill-prepared citizens.

By Katie Nguyen, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The 3-1/2-year-old conflict in Syria is preventing 2.8 million children from getting an education and has destroyed or damaged more than 3,400 schools, an international children's charity said on Thursday. (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The 3-1/2-year-old conflict ... continue reading


'Lend Me Your Ears' Hostage reporter appears in Islamic State sham news report Watch

Image of reporter and hostage, John Cantile appeared in a video made by the Islamic State.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has released another video, perhaps attempting to persuade Americans and British forces from attacking them. This time, instead of beheading a journalist they have created what appears to be their own version of a crude news segment. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Half of Iraqi army incapable of fighting against ISIL, top U.S. general declares Watch

Image of According to General Martin Dempsey, the solution must begin with formation of an Iraqi government that is able to convince the country's Kurdish and Sunni populations that they will be equal partners with the Shiites in Iraq's future.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, the U.S. military's top officer gave his assessment of Iraq's military capability in deterring the Islamic State. Dempsey says that almost half of Iraq's army is incapable of working against ISIL. ... continue reading


Stone structure in northern Israel was to worship moon god, scholar says Watch

Image of The vast structure, which is 150 meters long with a volume of 14,000 cubic meters, is thought to have taken more than five months to build.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the shape of the crescent moon in northern Israel, a 5,000-year-old stone structure is now being declared as an ancient monument. Predating much of the construction of Stonehenge in England and Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the structure according to one ... continue reading


A plea from Christian churches around the world: Stop the genocide in Iraq and Syria Watch

Image of Fighters from the Islamic State have been systematically waging a war of terror on Christians and other religious minorities in regions under their control in Iraq and Syria.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christian leaders throughout the Middle East have called on Muslim governments and religious authorities to condemn the Islamic State for its ongoing persecution of minority religious communities in Iraq and Syria. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The leaders ... continue reading


ISIS on the run! Kurdish forces on the move towards Mosul! Watch

Image of Kurdish forces with a captured Islamic State fighter.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Kurdish Peshmerga forces have retaken a bridge and several villages around Irbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdish region, and pushed fighters from the Islamic State back towards Mosul, Iraq's second largest city. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Islamic State ... continue reading


Refusing responsibility, Hamas admits to using schools, hospitals as 'human shields' in rocket attacks Watch

Image of The question that remains: Did Hamas deliberately and systematically fire rockets at Israel from homes, hospitals and schools in the hope that Israel would be deterred from retaliating, as Israel claims?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two weeks after the ceasefire, a Hamas official admits that his organization DID use schools and hospitals in Gaza Strip as "human shields" to launch rocket attacks on Israel. Said official, Ghazi Hamad claims it was "mistake." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


Stemming tide of ISIS recruits: Nations work to prevent citizens from joining jihadists Watch

Image of While part of Turkey formerly supported the Islamic State, Turkey has since changed its tune after Turks were targeted for violence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Countries across the globe are disturbed by the high recruitment rates by the Islamic State, who are gathering fighters from all over the world. Working to turn back this deadly tide, nations are formulating policies that will hopefully turn back the tide of ... continue reading


WARNING GRAPHIC VIDEO - Jihadi John beheads David Haines (FULL VIDEO) Watch

Image of Haines in the moment before his apparent execution.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has beheaded David Haines, and threatened to kill another Briton if the British government continues to ally with the United States against the Islamic State. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Time is running out for Alan Henning, who is next in ... 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, Isaiah 55:6-9
6 Seek out Yahweh while he is still to be found, call ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
2 Day after day I shall bless you, I shall praise ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:1-16
1 'Now the kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner ... Read More

Reading 2, Philippians 1:20-24, 27
20 all in accordance with my most confident hope and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 21st, 2014 Image

St. Matthew
September 21: St. Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, is the author of the ... 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