Egypt (MNN) — Egypt is seething with anger.
Millions of protesters say President Mohammed Morsi has no credibility and they don’t believe he stands for a diverse Egypt. For example, the Muslim Brotherhood promised not to field a candidate for president, not to seek to control the parliament, not to try to dominate the constitution-writing process. The fact that they broke those promises was already troubling, but the proverbial ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ was when Morsi seized dictatorial powers in November.
Todd Nettleton is a spokesman with the Voice of the Martyrs USA. He says, “Everybody is looking and saying ‘we don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know how this is going to work out’. There does seem to be somewhat of a turn from ‘Morsi may not be the greatest guy, but he was the duly-elected president’ to not pressure, even from the international community saying ‘Maybe it’s better if you step down’.”
While not exactly a coup, the military has pledged to intervene if the government does not address public demands and bring an end to the political turmoil engulfing Cairo. Their ultimatum gave Morsi until today to either reach some kind of compromise with those protesting against his government or step aside, says Nettleton. It’s a charged situation. “At this point, we look to the future and I think everybody wonders ‘How does this end?’”
Apparently, he didn’t need that long. Already he snubbed the effort to force a resolution, saying instead that he had his own ideas for what it would take to achieve national reconciliation. However, it doesn’t seem like everyone believes they will be successful. “Clearly, there is a significant part of the Egyptian population that is not happy with President Morsi’s administration”, Nettleton notes. “They’re not happy with the lack of progress after one year of him being in power. They’re not happy with the economy. They’re not happy with some of the moves toward a more Islamic society.”
The rank and file isn’t the only ones calling for REAL revolution. Six high-ranking officials quit his cabinet and at the same time ultraconservative Islamists joined the opposition’s call for early presidential elections. The courts also chimed in by ordering the removal of the Morsi-appointed prosecutor general, and reinstating a prosecutor first appointed by President Hosni Mubarak before his ouster.
The question is: what would the army be looking to do should it need to get involved? Nettleton says their initial statement is somewhat vague: “’We will not let the country descend into chaos.’ What does that mean? At what point did they step in and say ‘now we’re going to make the decisions because nobody else made them.’”
However, the issues that inflamed the millions in the streets involved undue influence by the Muslim Brotherhood. Some analysts suggest the army, should it be needed to bring an end to the political turmoil, would call for the reduced influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in government as well as early presidential and parliamentary elections.
Those ideas could go a long way to answering the demands of the group known as
Tamarod or “rebel.” They say they have 22 million signatures in support of these demands. It should send a message that discontent has spread beyond one faction in Egypt. “They have more signatures asking him to resign than there were people who voted for him in the election a year ago. So, there is definitely a shift that’s going on. But, as you look to the future, it’s hard to say ‘what does this mean?’ And ‘how does this finally play out?’”
Scattered reports were coming in of an increase in attacks on Christians in the days leading up to the June 30 revolt. Morsi supporters were accused of threatening Coptic Christians with harm should they join the protests. Nettleton says that didn’t stop them, although they’re careful. “I’ve asked some of our international contacts ‘what are the Christians doing? How are they responding to this? ‘ my sense is that they are kind of laying low and basically trying to make sure that they don’t get caught in the crossfire between the two sides, because that has been an issue in the past.”
A key Christian leader shared with Open Doors his account of some of the demonstrations he witnessed in the last few days. He wrote:
[Sic] “No one raised any specific political party flags or banners. Just Egyptian flags. Men and women, boys and girls, rich and poor, everybody came together in an overwhelming scene of unity of purpose and detemination. Entire families marched together, as well as groups of friends. The threats that were released by Morsi’s supporters as well as the shooting incidents in scatered locations in Cairo and other cities could not put down the fire of the roaring crowds.”
It’s also worth noting that interest in the Gospel seems to increase during these times. Nettleton explains, “President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have sort of put a new face on Islam, for the people of Egypt. I think, in some cases, it’s not a pretty face, so they are looking at other faiths, they’re looking at other teachings.”
Please continue to pray for Egypt as a new chapter of history is being written now. “Pray for the protection of our Christian brothers and sisters. With all of this upheaval going on, there can be cases where Christians are specifically targeted using the unrest as a cover for attacking Christians.” Pray for their continued boldness in Christ. The second wave of Revolution has begun. “Pray that out of this, God will bring about something that is good for the Church.”