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

There is no future for the Christians in Iraq, Anglican vicar warns Watch

Image of Christians in Iraq have been subjected to persecution, and more than a million have been forced to flee.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Terrorist fighters from the Islamic State are almost ready to enter the capital of Iraq, the vicar of St. George's Anglican Church in Baghdad warned on Facebook. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Rev. Canon Andrew White posted that "the Islamic State are on the ... continue reading


Netanyahu says threat of Hamas and ISIS reaches far beyond Israel Watch

Image of The spread of Islamic terrorism was compared by Netanyahu as a

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking at the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the threat of Hamas and ISIS reaches far beyond Israel. Islamic militants across the globe share the same goal of world domination, ... continue reading


Islamic State blasts Obama in powerful critique delivered by hostage John Cantile Watch

Image of John Cantile delivered the Islamic State's latest, scathing critique of Obama's strategy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has delivered a powerful critique of Obama's war speech, asking that if two Gulf Wars did not stop the spread of Islamic influence in the region, then why did he think a third would be more effective? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Whoever is ... continue reading


NO COMMUNION for first time in 2,000 years... Watch

Image of Iraqi Christians receive communion in the Kurdish city of Arbil. Sunday was the first time in 2,000 years no communion was offered in Nineveh, because no Christians remain.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Last Sunday there was no communion in Nineveh for the first time in 2,000 years. The Islamic State has finished Christianity in Iraq, having killed and forcing to flee the nation's population of over 200,000 Christians. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ancient ... continue reading


More than 3,000 Europeans fighting for ISIS, anti-terrorism chief says Watch

Image of Seizing large parts of Iraq and Syria in recent months, Islamic State - or known as IS, ISIS and ISIL, has had active troops from the European continent within its ranks.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The number of Europeans joining Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq has risen to more than 3,000, the European Union's Anti-Terrorism Chief Gilles de Kerchove has told TV reporters. Even worse, De Kerchove warned that Western air strikes would increase the risk ... continue reading


ISIS executioner in Foley beheading identified - but not made public Watch

Image of ISIS has beheaded James Foley, American journalist Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines, gruesomely showing their killings in videos posted online.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

FBI Director James Comey says that the United States believes it has identified the ISIS militant in the video showing American journalist James Foley's killing - but did not publicly identify the man. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The reason this is so ... continue reading


URGENT email from Iraq asks Christians to pray for ISIS victims in Queragosh -- but is it a hoax? Watch

Image of Christians in Iraq are subject to intense persecution and hardship. They remain at risk and in need of emergency aid.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An email was forwarded to the editorial staff of Catholic Online, requesting urgent prayers for the people of Queragosh, who were being slaughtered by terrorists from the Islamic State. In investigating the matter, the editorial team quickly established the email is a ... continue reading


U.S. mission in Syria determined to be 'a matter of years,' Rear Admiral John Kirby says Watch

Image of Calling the torture and killing of Sameera Al-Nuiamy savage and cowardly, U.N. special representative for Iraq Nickolay Mladenov says that the Iraqi government and the international community must do all they can to ensure those responsible for her death are brought to justice.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The airstrikes against Islamic State strongholds in Syria will likely drag on for several years, according to Rear Admiral John Kirby. As airstrikes continue to pummel used by the terror group to help fund its operations, Kirby pulled no punches with his ... continue reading


Refineries used by Islamic State targeted in airstrikes Watch

Image of Fighter jets from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates flew alongside U.S. aircraft during the operation, hitting 12 locations. Initial reports say that the strikes were successful.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Mobile oil refineries in eastern Syria were pounded by U.S.-led warplanes this week in an attempt to hit Islamic State "in the pocketbook." The refineries have been fueling IS' terror brigade. According to Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby, the airstrikes were aimed ... continue reading


Bin Laden son-in-law sentenced to life in prison Watch

Image of Convicted in March on conspiracy charges, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith answered Osama bin Laden's request in the hours after the attacks to speak on the widely circulated videos used to recruit new followers willing to go on suicide missions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was sentenced to life in prison for acting as al-Qaeda's spokesman after the September 11 terror attacks. Before sentencing, Abu Ghaith said through an interpreter that he "would not come here today and seek ... 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, Exodus 23:20-23
20 'Look, I am sending an angel to precede you, to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 10-11
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 18:1-5, 10
1 At this time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 2nd, 2014 Image

St. Leger
October 2: Leger was raised at the court of King Clotaire II and by his ... 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