41. The Papal Nuncio: Mgr. Michael Fitzgerald

With a touch of humor throughout, Mgr. Michael Fitzgerald introduced his role as the Vatican Ambassador to Egypt to a delegation of mostly Catholic Austrian students and professors from the University of Vienna. This visit was organized by Arab-West Report and was also attended by some staff and interns from Arab-West Report.

51. What’s Behind the Mubārak Verdict?

The headlines in the West will read, ‘Mubārak sentenced to life imprisonment.’ They may also say, ‘Egyptians take to the street in protest.’ Confused?

Unless one reads more deeply the obvious connection must be that protestors wanted his head, literally. The reality is rather simple, just not within the headlines.

Mubārak and the former Minster of the Interior Habīb al-’Adlī were convicted, but the chiefs of the Ministry of the Interior were declared innocent. The statement says there was insufficient evidence to link them to the charge of killing protestors during the revolution.

37. Egyptian Christians Back to Square One

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.

36. Muslim Brotherhood Signs Agreement with Egypt’s Evangelicals

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.

35. How MB-Evangelical Dialogue Began

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.

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Martino Diez and Meriem Senous published on March 22 an interesting interview with Father Rafīq Greish, head of the Press Office of the Coptic Catholic Church in Egypt. We are providing here some excerpts with comments showing disagreement on a few points.

 

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

 

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Newsclippings from International Sources

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Cairo - A couple hundred Christian protesters clashed with police in southern Egypt after holding a demonstration on Tuesday in front of a police station demanding authorities locate an abducted housewife, a security official said.

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Tonight the Coptic Museum is celebrating Coptic New Year with a series of lectures about Coptic arts,history, the Coptic calendar, and its relation to the ancient Egyptian calendar. Afterwards, a music concert
will follow.
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The recent failure of the Muslim Brotherhood to stay in power despite its success in Egypt’s first ever democratic election is in itself quite telling

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper today visited the newly-built St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Markham with His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark.

The visit consisted of a tour of the Cathedral, as well as a presentation of the unveiling of a cornerstone inscribed with Prime Minister Harper’s name. Members of the Coptic community observed the presentation from the cathedral pews.

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Egyptians are busy with a controversial religious edict [fatwa] issued by the Fatwa Secretariat of Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta. The edict prohibits “electronic conversations between the sexes on social media, except when necessary.” Dar al-Ifta removed the edict from its official website less than 48 hours after it was posted last Friday [Aug. 29], but that did not stop the debate on social media, especially as the edict was issued in conjunction with a government decision banning the mixing of the sexes in health clubs.
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