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 May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Middle East

Wholesale slaughter of Palmyra residents begins as Islamic State invades Watch

Image of Will this marble altar depicting the Goddess Allat with a lion from the Temple of Baal Shamin in Palmyra be destroyed by ISIS jihadists?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Shocking images have emerged of decapitated bodies strewn across blood-filled streets in Palmyra While the world worries that the Islamic State will destroy the cities many priceless historical treasures, the wholesale slaughter of Palmyra's citizens has begun. ... continue reading


OOPS! Comment riles Iran, threatened to rain down '80,000 missles on Tel Aviv and Haifa' Watch

Image of The misquote was most likely based on Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's comments from the May 5 Shurat Hadin conference.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon made a comment recently that was taken out of context. The comment was so misunderstood that it prompted war talk from Iran. While the war talk was mostly bluster, Iran obviously took the comment seriously as Iran's United ... continue reading


Foreign Legion: 17,000 men and women from more than 90 countries wage Muslim holy war for ISIS Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State continues to round up and recruit foreign fighters to join their "Muslim holy war." During the past three and a half years, ISIS has gained between 16,000 and 17,000 men and women from 90 countries, according to The Jakarata Post. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Catacombs becomes popular as graveyard space in Jerusalem grows scarce Watch

Image of The first phase of construction includes 22,000 crypts, arranged floor to ceiling in three tiers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Many of the Jewish faith yearn to be interred in the Holy Land. Jerusalem, however, is running out of graveyard space. To meet this growing demand, plans are in the works for a new, massive necropolis - located deep underground. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Islamic State seizes control of Palmyra Watch

Image of The capture of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, one monitoring group said, now gives ISIS control of half the country.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Islamic State extremists have seized full control of the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra. Syrian Government defense lines collapsed there earlier this week. It is not yet known how close to the famed archaeological site the extremists advanced, activists said. ... continue reading


Extreme female terrorist 'White Widow' commands army of 200 female jihadist spies Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The so-called "White Widow" is now reported as commanding an army of around 200 female jihadists who pose as normal citizens and workers, like shop owners and hotel receptionists, and gather classified information for the leaders of the Al-Shabaab, according to ... continue reading


Islamic State captures World Heritage site despite Kurdish offensive Watch

Image of Islamic State fighters continue to make gains both in Iraq and Syria, despite efforts from Kurdish forces as well as government and militia units.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While the Islamic State's recent capture of Mosul in Iraq has been making the news, it's there current conquests in Syria that are more worrying to several international historical groups. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Islamic State fighters recently seized ... continue reading


Saudi Arabia beheading rate increases, new executioners recruited Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In Saudi Arabia, death sentences are usually performed by beheading. Now, Saudi Arabia is recruiting eight new executioners to carry out the rising number of death sentences. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Saudi Arabia has begun advertising for new ... continue reading


Killing of Abu Sayyaf by U.S. prompts cries of revenge by Islamic State supporters Watch

Image of Senior leader Abu Sayyaf was responsible for directing many of the group's military activities.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A U.S. military strike deep in Islamic State territory took out senior leader Abu Sayyaf, captured his wife and freed a Yazidi woman they had kept as their slave. Supporters of the extremist organization are calling for revenge. Taking place near the eastern ... continue reading


Will archaeological marvel of Palmyra be destroyed by ISIS? Watch

Image of Will the ancient city of Palmyra fall prey to Islamic State's march against antiquity?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The ancient city of Palmyra, which has stood for 2,000 years, now faces being reduced to rubble at the hands of the Islamic State. There are fears that the Syrian World Heritage Site could face destruction of the kind the jihadists have wreaked in Iraq. LOS ... 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, Acts 28:16-20, 30-31
16 On our arrival in Rome Paul was allowed to stay in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 11:4, 5, 7
4 Yahweh in his holy temple! Yahweh, his throne is in ... Read More

Gospel, John 21:20-25
20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 23rd, 2015 Image

St. John Baptist Rossi
May 23: This holy priest was born in 1698 at the village of Voltaggio in ... 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