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Millions march in support of Egypt’s coup: The Church of England Newspaper, August 11, 2013 p 5 August 16, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East.
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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

Muslim Brotherhood mob lays seige to Anglican church in Port Suez: Anglican Ink, August 14, 2013 August 14, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East.
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The Bishop of Egypt, Dr. Mouneer Anis writes:

“14 August 2013

Dear Friends,

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

As I write these words, our St. Saviour’s Anglican Church in Suez is under heavy attack from those who support former President Mursi.  They are throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the church and have destroyed the car of Rev. Ehab Ayoub, the priest-in-charge of St. Saviour’s Church.  I am also aware that there are attacks on other Orthodox churches in Menyia and Suhag in Upper Egypt(see attached photo), as well as a Catholic church in Suez.  Some police stations are also under attack in different parts of Egypt.  Please pray and ask others to pray for this inflammable situation in Egypt.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Martial law in Egypt: The Church of England Newspaper, February 3, 2013 p 7. February 5, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East.
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President Muhammad Mursi of Egypt declared a “state of emergency” for Port Said, Ismailia and Suez this week, placing the cities and their surrounding provinces under martial law.

The imposition of a curfew and suspension of civil laws on 27 Jan 2013 comes in the wake of violent riots in Port Said and four days of demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahir Square, with protesters marking the second anniversary of the overthrow of the Mubarak regime with calls for the repeal of the country’s new Sharia-law based constitution.

“Egypt is passing through a difficult moment because of the anniversary of the 25 January 2011 Revolution and the hearing of the verdict of the Port Said Football Massacre,” the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, Bishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt said. “Please pray for our beloved country Egypt as many have been injured or killed in the last days because of these demonstrations, and because the country is still in a time of transition.

Clashes between police and protesters over the weekend left at least 50 dead and hundreds injured Western news agencies have reported.  The political tensions in the capital were inflamed on Saturday after a court in Port Said sentenced to death 21 men for their part in a football riot.

On 1 Feb 2012 a riot erupted in the stands of Port Said Stadium at the close of an Egyptian premier league match between the Al-Masry and Al-Ahly soccer clubs. More than 1000 people were injured and 79 killed after Al-Masry fans stormed the pitch after their 3-1 victory over Al-Ahly. The Al-Masry fans attacked the opposing side’s players and fans.

The 26 Jan 2013 death sentences sparked riots in Port Said and escalated to street battles between the security services and demonstrators.  In a nationally televised address on Sunday President Mursi said the Port Said rioters were counter revolutionaries. He had imposed martial law to prevent further violence.

“There is no room for hesitation, so that everybody knows the institution of the state is capable of protecting the citizens,” he said. “If I see that the homeland and its children are in danger, I will be forced to do more than that. For the sake of Egypt, I will.”

Hopes for a democratic transformation of Egypt following the fall of the Mubarak regime have been dashed, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports with the  same “brutal tactics being employed against pro-democracy protestors by the previous military” being used by the current regime to “enforce the status quo.”

The Christian community has also fared badly from the “Arab Spring”.  Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom said: “The uprising in Tahrir Square on 25 Jan 2011 inspired the world as it saw Egyptians standing side-by-side in an effort to reclaim their national identity. There was hope for a new Egypt, one that could offer its people the freedom and responsibility of equal citizenship while no longer focusing on their religious or political stance.”

“It is unfortunate however, that two years down the line we have not seen sufficient signs of this transformation, and we still witness the marginalisation and alienation of many, Christians and Muslims alike, within Egyptian society, while repeatedly witnessing others committing crimes and not being brought to justice,” the bishop said.