Millions march in support of Egypt’s coup: The Church of England Newspaper, August 11, 2013 p 5 August 16, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East.
Tags: Bible Society of Egypt, Diocese of Egypt, Muhammad Mursi, Ramez Attalah
An Egyptian court has ordered the detention of former Pres. Muhammad Mursi on charges of treason.
The arrest accompanied by a call by the Army to the Egyptian people to back its coup prompted the largest public demonstration in Egypt’s history. The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics reported that an estimated 35 million people took to the streets on 26 July 2013 to voice their support for the army coup that ousted Pres. Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood government.
The court ordered Pres. Morsi be detained for 15 days while it investigated charges he collaborated with the militant Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in organizing a mass escape from Wadi el-Natroun Prison during Egypt’s 2011 uprising. The former president is said to have used Hamas agents to assist the Muslim Brotherhood in murdering political rivals, and attacking police stations during the uprising Ahram Online reported.
The president of the Bible Society of Egypt Ramez Atallah said the July 26 demonstrations were an accurate measure of Egyptian political sentiment. “[A]n incredible number of people took to the streets to show their solidarity against the aggressive and disruptive behavior of the Muslim Brotherhood protestors. Like they did on June 30th, the ‘Silent Majority’ – who usually sit at home and watch political events on their TV screens – voted with their feet, taking to the streets in very large numbers. People went to the demonstration sites from every conceivable place and it was an amazing night of celebration and jubilation, affirming together an Egypt where all are respected as equal citizens.”
Mr. Atallah said the demonstration heralded “unprecedented acts of unity” between Christians and Muslims. “When the call to break the [Ramadan] fast was announced at sunset on July 26th, all church bells in Egypt rang in solidarity with their Muslim compatriots,” he said.
And unlike the protests staged by the Muslim Brotherhood “remarkably few incidents of violence, petty theft and harassment of women were reported. The euphoria of the people went on all night as massive crowds again expressed their rejection of the “Political Islam” agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said.
The Rev. Drew W. Schmotzer, Chaplain to Bishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt and rector of St. Mark’s Church in Menouf, told The Church of England Newspaper the majority of Egyptians “want change which is why the military acted on their behalf and removed President Mursi.”
The new government has “consulted both Pope Tawadros and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar” in establishing the new regime, he added, noting “this is an important step forward.”
However, while “there are moments when Christians and Muslims work together, and this is good, but not the norm. There is a deep chasm between the understanding of Christians and Muslims, and most judgments are based on misconceptions of the other. I do think that steps are being taken on that front, but doing anything in the Middle East takes time,” he said.
Mr. Atallah added the Muslim Brotherhood remained a problem. The claim made by Al Jazeera that the Muslim Brotherhood were “peaceful demonstrators goes contrary to all that we are experiencing of violence and brutality on our streets. Anyone who has the misfortune of walking or driving close to one of their demonstrations is taking his life in his hands.”
“Most Egyptians, in spite of their disdain for the Muslim Brotherhood, are very much against Egypt turning into a police (or worse, army) State and have been putting much pressure on security forces to be restrained in their response to the Muslim Brotherhood agitators,” he said.
“At the same time, the vast majority of Egyptians agree that the month-long disruption of normal life by these protesters must end. The crowds on July 26th were there to give the government that very message,” Mr. Atallah said