Date: June 30, 2012
By BosNewsLife Africa Service with BosNewsLife's Chief International Correspondent Stefan J. Bos
CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)-- Native Christian missionaries in Egypt remained concerned Saturday, June 30, saying at least two fellow believers were killed by suspected Islamists since Mohammed Morsi was declared the country's president.
Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood "announced they would destroy the country if Morsi didn't win, but they also said they will take revenge from all those who voted for [his opponent Ahmed] Shafiq, especially the Christians as they are sure we did vote for Shafiq," am Egyptian missionary leader said in a letter distributed by Christian Aid Mission (CAM) group.
"Yesterday they began by killing two believers in [the area of] el Sharqiya because of this," the missionary added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The names of the two Christians known to the missionaries were not immediately released.
These latest reported killings came just weeks after video footage of a convert from Islam to Christianity being murdered by Muslims was shown on on Egyptian television.
That graphic incident, which was reported to have taken place in Tunisia, was aired on the Egypt Today program. That footage showed a young man being held down by masked men with a knife to his throat.
One man was heard chanting a number of Muslim prayers in Arabic, mostly condemning Christianity.
The man holding the knife to the Christian convert’s throat began to cut, slowly severing the head amid cries of “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is great”), according to transcripts.
The Egypt Today presenter was reportedly distressed by the scenes and openly wondered what direction his nation would go under the influential Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis groups.
Native missionaries and other Christians said the footage of the brutal beheading was the latest indication of what they called "the violent threat to religious freedom" in the post-Arab Spring revolution-era.
"Native missionary families are deeply disturbed and even fearful because of recent developments in Egypt," CAM Africa Director Rae Burnett told BosNewsLife.
CAM, which supports the native missionaries, "is not ever involved in politics, but political events and climates can profoundly affect the Lord's work," Burnett explained.
In the letter, the Egyptian missionary leader added that "soon after Morsi won, Christians in upper Egypt were forcibly prevented from going to churches."
Many Muslims, he claimed, "also began to speak to women in the streets that they had to wear Islamic clothing including the head covering. They act as if they got the country for their own, it's theirs now."
The missionary leader added that, "Many Christians here are terrified." He said "many" Christians had already lost friends and family members "from Islamic attacks" before the election.
Christians, also known as Copts in Egypt, comprise some 10 percent of Egypt's predominantly Islamic population, but at least 100,000 have already fled the nation, according to Open Doors, an international group supporting reportedly persecuted believers.
However "Liberal Muslims are also afraid," the missionary leader acknowledged in the letter, adding that, "They also do not want the country to be turned from a civil one to a religious one like Iran."
He suggested Christians have doubts about the fairness of the recent presidential race. Morsi's opponent "Shafiq is a very loved and respected man."
"It had been announced that at 1 pm presidential guards went to his home to get him as the president. But at 2 pm they got orders to leave his home and return back." Two hours later, "they announced Morsi the president," the missionary wrote.
On Friday, June 28, Morsi pre-empted the military’s choreographed swearing-in ceremony by taking an oath of office a day in a televised speech to tens of thousands of supporters in Tahrir Square.
He has pledged to be the leader of all Egyptians, including Christians, but Western analysts said parts of his speech is expected to provoke Washington.
Morsi said he would for the release of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the Egyptian-born militant Islamist convicted after the 1993 World Trade Center attack of plotting to bomb several New York City landmarks.