Egyptian Islamists consolidate power, threathen Christians

Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi. (Photo: Jonathan Rashad on Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons License)

By INcontext: A World In Motion

In less than a week, the Muslim Brotherhood has made great strides towards consolidating its power in Egypt. Last Wednesday, newly elected president Mohammed Morsi fired his intelligence chief and other top security officials, using the killing of 16 soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula as his rationale. On Sunday, Morsi took his purge one step further, dismissing the entire military leadership in a move that shocked the nation. Whether the military ultimately accepts that decision remains to be seen. The dramatic political implications from the move, however, are not in question. Morsi also nullified a constitutional declaration issued by the military junta that severely limited his presidential authority, replacing it with one that gives him sweeping executive and legislative powers. (AINA)

A further concern for local Christians was not only the constitution that was changed but an image of a letter that appeared on El Fegr’s website. Titled “An Urgent and Important Notice,” it begins by calling on “all brothers and sisters” to “kill or physically attack the enemies of the religion of Allah–the Christians in all of Egypt’s provinces, the slaves of the Cross, Allah’s curse upon them…” It proceeds to promise a monetary reward for whoever helps “achieve Allah’s rights against his enemies.”

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As a testimony to how safe the jihad organizations of today’s Egypt feel under the new president, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Muhammad Morsi, the usual cryptic language is dropped, as the letter names contact points and even a mosque, Sheikh Ahmed Mosque in Kasfrit, where those interested should rally “after Friday prayers where new members to the organization will be welcomed.” (AINA)

From a Christian perspective the election of Morsi to the Egyptian presidency earlier this year brought about a renewed concern for Christians living in Egypt. However, with the military holding on to most of the governing powers in an attempt to disable the Muslim Brotherhood, Christians were given room to breathe, for a time. But now, Mr. Morsi, backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, has overturned previous laws put in place by the military and has forced leaders of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to retire, bringing back a threatening future for Christians in the country. The Muslim Brotherhood’s confidence and boldness is evident by their publication of renewed calls to jihad against the “enemies of Allah”, and persecution of Christians in Egypt has escalated to an alarming rate. This despite Mr. Morsi passing an anti-discrimination law allowing churches that had been closed before to reopen. While the international community sees a number of signs indicating ‘progress’ under Morsi’s rule, Christians living in Egypt know that their future looks bleak.

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