This article was originally posted on Christianity Today, May 29, 2012.
Despite the best efforts of Christian and Muslim revolutionaries, the first free presidential election in Egypt's history has resulted in an all-too-familiar choice: old regime vs. Islamists.
The nation's Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission confirmed on Monday that the Muslim Brotherhood's Muhammad Mursī advanced to the run-off election against Ahmad Shafīq, former president Husnī Mubārak's last-ditch appointee as prime minister during the revolution's early days. Both candidates gathered nearly 25 percent of the vote. Only a few percentage points behind was Hamdīn Sabbāhī, whose late surge as the revolutionary choice was not enough to displace Egypt's traditional combatants.
This article was originally posted on Christianity Today, May 31, 2012.
The first free election in Egypt's history has captured headlines worldwide with its unexpected runoff between a Mubārak regime figure and a Muslim Brotherhood leader.
Less known is that 17 Coptic evangelical leaders met with five Muslim Brotherhood counterparts at the Brotherhood's headquarters on February 28, and crafted a joint statement of common values that both sides agree the new Egyptian constitution and government should uphold. Evangelicals comprise a minority of Egyptian Christians, almost 90 percent of whom are Coptic Orthodox.
On February 28, 2012 the leaders of the Evangelical Churches of Egypt met with the Muslim Brotherhood, and produced a document delineating the shared values of both organizations.
Seventeen evangelical signatories are listed; perhaps the one most surprising comes at the very end.
Rev. Rifa’at Fikrī is the pastor of an evangelical church in Shubra, a densely populated suburb to the north of Cairo well known for its high concentration of Christian residents.
Rev. Fikrī is well known for his strident anti-Islamist stance. In fact, it is this very posture which involved him in the dialogue in the first place.
Cornelis Hulsman addresses Egyptian Christians' fear of the strong shift towards Islamism in Egypt and the repercussions it may have for the Christian community. He discusses this fear in the context of current situation in Egypt with regard to the further decline of the economy, the power struggle that exists between several blocs, and the upcoming presidential elections.
On March 4 a court sentenced Coptic Orthodox priest Makarius Bulus to six months in jail for preparing a falsified building permit for a church in Mārīnāb. The sentence was widely reported in particular in Western Christian media, in part as result of Compass Direct News reporting that is seen particularly in Western Evangelical circles. This report by Compass Direct News was deliberately unfair, misleading, partisan and Islamophobe.
In the early 1960s during the tenure of late Pope Kyrillos VI, Coptic Orthodox Christians had only seven churches abroad – two in each of the United States, Canada and Australia and only in Britain (1).
MEMRI provided a clip of Muslim preacher, Shaykh Wajdī Ghunaym (Wagdy Ghoneim) speaking about the death of Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III, cursing him and wishing him to burn in hell. Read MEMRI article here