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.

72. Brotherhood Faces Both Ways as Egypt Votes for President
72. Egypt’s Presidential Elections and Christian Fear

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.

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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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n the morning of May 15, Egyptians abroad started voting in the presidential elections at Egyptian embassies and consulates around the world. International voting stations are open for four days after which voting will take place in Egypt on May 26-27. Preliminary data from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry showed extensive participation in the voting at the embassies around the world, but a report released on May 16 said that, as of 2 p.m. that day, 100,000 persons had voted. This is a small number considering that 8 million Egyptians live abroad, but it is a reasonable figure considering that 305,000 expatriates voted in the first round of the 2012 presidential elections. It should be noted that the Higher Election Committee has decided not to allow voting by mail. 
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ews on the Palestinian reconciliation front has taken a positive turn. The first practical steps will feature the creation of a technocratic government responsible for civil affairs in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This development promises to open a new chapter not only in Palestinian governance but also on the diplomatic playing field between Israel and a revitalized Palestinian Authority (PA).
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News on the Palestinian reconciliation front has taken a positive turn. The first practical steps will feature the creation of a technocratic government responsible for civil affairs in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This development promises to open a new chapter not only in Palestinian governance but also on the diplomatic playing field between Israel and a revitalized Palestinian Authority (PA).
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Ehab El-Kharrat, a leading Coptic figure of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, is supporting Hamdeen Sabahi for president, and explaining why

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Ehab El-Kharrat, a leading Coptic figure of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, is supporting Hamdeen Sabahi for president, and explaining why.


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