Is Egypt on the brink of civil war?


Date:               June 19, 2013



(Cover photo courtesy of Gigi Ibrahim. Story photo courtesy of Jonathan Rashad)

Egypt (MNN/ODM) ― Storm clouds of tension are brewing over Egypt as the approach of June 30 flashes in Egyptian citizens' minds.

June 30 is the one-year anniversary of Egyptian President Morsi’s inauguration.

It is also the day Egyptian protestors will rally to demonstrate their frustrations with Morsi’s ever-expanding Islamist regime.

The Rebel movement is calling for a peaceful march, but the Muslim Brotherhood is saying they will come out on June 28--two days before the Rebel protest--to support Morsi and protest the protestors.

Jerry Dykstra with Open Doors USA says of the Muslim Brotherhood protest, “I think it’s very worrisome for the Christian community, especially because there could be some bloodied clashes between the Rebel group and the Muslim Brotherhood supporters, which some are saying possibly could lead to a civil war.”

Open Doors also reports that other Islamic groups have demonstrations planned for Friday, June 21.

The major frustrations with Morsi center on his inching Islam into more power in Egypt. This past Sunday, June 16, Morsi appointed 17 new governors, 7 of which belong to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood now controls 10 governorships out of 27 Egyptian provinces.

It's putting everyone on edge, including Christians. According to Dykstra, “They’re fearful the next three years as he’s president, [it's] going to turn into Sharia law: there will be a marginalizing of Coptic Christians, it’ll be a more or less Islamic government that will squash any kinds of reform, and obviously the voiceless will get even more voiceless.”

Dykstra shares an example: “Earlier this month, a teacher in Egypt was sentenced for "defaming Islam" while teaching her class. She was sentenced to a $14,000 fine, which is obviously far beyond her ability to pay.... More and more [Egyptian judges are] using that term today against Coptic Christians. Likely she will be put in jail or sued for not being able to pay this fine.

“But this is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re finding that more and more people are using these things [like] blasphemy, and charges they’ve used in Pakistan now [are] coming into Egypt against critics of Islam,” says Dykstra.

Open Doors released an urgent call to prayer with reports from the ground in Egypt:

No one in Egypt today speaks about anything but the expected scenarios of the very likely confrontation between the two sides of the split nation. There is a gloomy spirit of anticipating that the worst is most likely going to happen! As I hear them, I cry out: God, have mercy on Egypt! These are the reports and rumors we hear on the ground:

  1. Talk is being spread around about coming major bloody clashes between the “Rebel” and the MB supporters, with many expected deaths and injuries. Some of the MB supporters have dared to publicly threaten to cause rivers of blood to flow in defense of Morsi and his regime. That simply means a civil war!
  2. A major terrorist attack before June 30th could be planned, to draw the attention of the protesting crowds away from Morsi to focus instead on this attack.
  3. Threats are circulating that Christians will be targeted if they joined the protests.
  4. Rumors claim that some Jihadists from Hamas have crossed the border into Sinai lately.
  5. A shipment of satellite cell phones (prohibited in Egypt for public use) was said to have been delivered to the headquarters of the MB.

Coptic Christians in Egypt are making decisions on whether or not to stay in Egypt, especially with the threat of protests, clashes, and potential persecution.

For Christians who have stayed in the past, they have seen an amazing response with people wanting to learn about Christ. Egypt’s largest evangelical church, Kasr El Dobara Church, has seen a boom in their attendance over the last three years. They had a congregation of 700, and these days Kasr El Dobara Church struggles to fit the overflowing crowds in their 2,500-seat sanctuary. Church leaders had to set up closed-circuit TV broadcasts for the services.

The Holy Spirit is moving in Egypt, despite turmoil. Dykstra asks, “Pray for the witness of Christians to remain the only clear light in the middle of such darkness. Pray to bind the powers of evil away from the Egyptian country. Pray for the persecutors and the attackers and terrorists who have not met the Lord Jesus Christ.”

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