Originally published in Mission Network News
According to several sources, the terrorist group Hamas is moving its headquarters from Syria to Egypt. The effects of the move could bode poorly for Egypt.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says the Muslim Brotherhood, to which Hamas is closely linked, is also becoming more powerful in Egypt.
Syria has become an all out blood bath. Violence and riots continue in the nation, which could be part of the reason Hamas may want to move, says Tom Doyle with E3Partners. At the same time, the benefits for Hamas in Egypt could be significant.
“If they do move to Egypt, that unites them in a stronger way with Hamas in the Gaza Strip right there,” explains Doyle, the Middle East-Central Asia Director for E3. “I think it gives them a larger territory, a much bigger population to blend in with. So to me, it really makes sense.”
This potentially could be good news for Syrian believers, who are facing worse persecution than they have for decades. Doyle says, “Some people assume [persecution] is just always from the government. Sometimes it’s from the terrorist groups who are there. So one leaving makes it a little better for the Christians.” Doyle adds, “[Syrian believers] wouldn’t be sorry to see them go, that’s for sure.”
The news of Hamas moving could be bad news for Egypt, however. Egypt is already a powerhouse for what Doyle calls the “brains” of Islam. The presence of more radical Islamic groups could be a bad combination. Doyle says an additional terror group headquartered in Egypt could mean even more instability for the Middle East.
Further concerns involve the Muslim Brotherhood. “The people have wanted democracy, and what Islamic Brotherhood is offering is not the democracy they were looking for.”
Despite the fact that the group only has about 10% of Egypt’s support so far, Doyle says history shows that could change over night. This may especially be the case for a nation who is desperate for leaders who can deliver on their promises.
Amid the concerns, however, the various conflicts building in Syria and Egypt are actually producing fruit. “It’s bad news politically, but it’s good news spiritually because it’s created desperation in the hearts of people, and they’re much more open to the Gospel.”
In Syria, Muslims have knocked on doors in the middle of the night while Christians were meeting for prayer and fasting. “[Muslims] knew they were meeting in the middle of the night and said, ‘We wanted a place that was safe to go. We know that you have love for each other. There’s so much hatred in our country. People are killing people, Muslims are killing Muslims, and we felt like we’d be safe with the Christians. So can you help us?'”
Pray that believers in both nations would be bold in sharing their faith no matter what lies ahead in regard to terrorist groups and other violence and persecution.