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 October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Middle East

Jack 'the acid' Ripper: Suspects arrested in connection with acid attacks against women in Iran Watch

Image of Though the attacks have instilled fear in some women in the city, many continue to live their lives without apologies.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Iranian authorities have arrested a number of people suspected of throwing acid at women. Its' believed that the women were wearing their traditional Islamic head covering improperly. The public had grown increasingly angry over the series of attacks in the ... continue reading


Sectarian violence spreads in Yemen, where Shi'ite militia square off against al-Qaeda Watch

Image of A member of the Shi'ite military Houthi organization.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Yemeni city was taken by al Qaeda fighters, and 33 people were killed by a suicide bombing and gun fighting during the group's challenge to the Yemeni government. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This is just the latest bout of violence that has erupted in ... continue reading


Al Qaeda launches 'magazine war' with Islamic State in effort to attract new recruits Watch

Image of Resurgence, the new magazine for Al Qaeda.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Al Qaeda is attempting to make a comeback in the public eye following the stunning rise of the competing Islamic State. In an online publication, aimed at a global audience, the terror group is encouraging attacks at economic infrastructure. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Pope Francis - Petitions UN, Muslims and Christians to address 'ongoing genocide' in Iraq Watch

Image of An Iraqi man flees with children on a donkey amid hundreds of other refugees. Christians and other ethnic minorities have been driven from their ancient homelands and into camps.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has once again spoken out about the atrocities being committed in the Middle East by the Islamic State, labeling them "terrorism of previously unimaginable proportions." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis lamented, "it seems that the ... continue reading


Islamic State takes mounting death count in Syria Watch

Image of Both Kurdish and Iraqi forces have been battling ISIS on the ground.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Islamic State has taken heavy casualties over the past several days. At least 70 fighters for the terror group have been dropped off over the past several days at a hospital in the Syrian town of Tal Abyad. The town is on the Turkey-Syrian border about 50 miles ... continue reading


Christians, Yazidis and Turkmen face genocide in Iraq Watch

Image of At least half a million people have been forced to flee their villages in Ninewa province, home to minority communities for thousands of years, according to the report, From Crisis to Catastrophe: the situation of minorities in Iraq.

By Kieran Guilbert, Thomson Reuters Foundation

More than 12,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq so far this year, mainly by Islamic State (IS), and minorities facing ethnic cleansing are the principal victims, according to a report published on Thursday. LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Minority Rights ... continue reading


Deadly Sarin bombs now in hands of Islamic State Watch

Image of Officials warned that they had witnessed equipment there being looted on CCTV whereupon the militants shut the surveillance cameras down.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An even more alarming fact has risen to the fore in the war in the Middle East, ISIS controls a vast compound in Iraq containing 2,500 rusting chemical weapons rockets, according to the Iraqi government. While the site was bombed by the U.S. during the 1991 ... continue reading


Do you still think Islam is a 'religion of peace?' These 10 verses from the Koran will show you the truth Watch

Image of Islam is the religion of peace. Care to disagree?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

From Christian apologist and blogger David Wood, comes more evidence, ripped directly from the pages of the Koran, that Islam is not a religion of peace. Wood located ten verses which will help readers understand the Islamic State's religious motivation for their ... continue reading


180,000 people flee Iraqi city of Hit after ISIS claims town Watch

Image of ISIS has been on the offensive in the desert province of Anbar, bordering Syria, in recent weeks. The town of Hit fell on October 2 and nearby Kubaisa on October 4.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Iraqi city of Hit fell to Islamic State earlier this month. The bloodshed in Iraq's western Anbar province has forced up to 180,000 people to flee, according to the United Nations. ISIS has been on the offensive in the desert province of Anbar, bordering ... continue reading


ISIS justifies enslavement of women as 'the revival of slavery before the Hour' Watch

Image of ISIS forced tens of thousands of Yazidis to flee their homes in August when troops stormed many of the community's towns and cities in Iraqi Kurdistan.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The kidnapping, enslavement and trafficking of women would not be condoned by any true religion - Islamic State, according to an online publications justifies their practice as "the revival (of) slavery before the Hour," referring to Judgment Day. While that ... 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, Ephesians 2:12-22
12 do not forget, I say, that you were at that time ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
9 His saving help is near for those who fear him, his ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:35-38
35 'See that you have your belts done up and your ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 21st, 2014 Image

St. Hilarion
October 21: Abbot and disciple of St. Anthony the Great, companion of St. ... 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