Christian Copts join Egptian protests against Mubarak

It’s desperately difficult to get a true handle on the current situation in Egypt, as it’s ongoing, fluid and the authorities have severed Egypt from the Internet and disrupted telecommunications.

I’ve noted Christian bloggers urging support of the uprising and Jim laments the silence of theologians and Biblical scholars.

Personally, I am concerned that any power vacuum created by this situation could potentially be exploited by Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

I’ve been reassured – by those far more knowledgeable than I – that Islamists will not be able to take control of the country, especially if the governmental structures remain intact in some form.

As I’m no expert on internal Egyptian politics, I’m simply hoping they’re right.

Judging by the general [mis] treatment of the Christian Copt minority in Egypt – which appears to be permeate all of Egyptian society including politics – I can fully appreciate why they would wish to join with this demonstration in order to precipitate governmental and societal change.

Professor Barry Rubin is however concerned about the potential outcomes and his conclusions add to my trepidation for the Egyptian Copts.

Here’s some of what he had to say:

2) Do you see the threat of an Islamist takeover by the Ikhwa?

So far the uprising has not been led by the Muslim Brotherhood. But it is the only large organized opposition group. It is hard to see how it would not be the leading force after a while. The leadership would have to decide that it is facing a revolutionary situation and that this is the moment for an all-out effort. But if it does so and fails there will be a terrible repression and the group will be crushed. It appears that the Brotherhood is joining the protests but has not made its basic decision yet. In the longer term if the regime is completely overthrown I do believe the Brotherhood will emerge as the leader and perhaps the ruler of the country.

3) Do you see any chances that Egypt will witness the same model of Iran of 1979, the democratic protests followed by an Islamist rule?

Absolutely yes. On one hand, so far they lack a charismatic leader. On the other hand, alternative non-Islamist leadership is probably weaker than it was in Iran. Remember also that the Iranian revolution went on for almost a year, with the Islamists emerging as leaders only after five or six months. Many experts predicted that moderate democrats would emerge as rulers and said an Islamist regime was impossible but that isn’t what happened. I very much hope I am wrong.

…..continue reading

The whole post is worth reading, even though it is largely pessimistic.

Anyway, the prospect of a future Egypt without Mubarak has brought Christians as well as Muslims to the streets:

As clashes between anti-government protesters and Egyptian police intensified on Jan. 28, some Coptic Orthodox Christians disregarded their church’s call for peaceful non-involvement – in hopes that the possible abdication of President Hosni Mubarak could advance the cause of their freedom.

Professor Emad Shahin, a political scientist at the University of Notre Dame, specializes in Islamic affairs and has been monitoring the Egyptian situation closely. He told CNA that many Coptic Christians were joining with Muslims to express their frustration with three decades of authoritarian rule.

“The different statements that called for today’s demonstrations were calling on participants to come ‘from the mosques and the churches,’ to go to public squares,” Professor Shahin explained. “We have seen evidence that some Copts have been participating in the demonstrations.”

The protesters, he said “need an end to corruption. They need the rule of law. They call for freedoms, and dignity – for social justice, and of course, for democracy.”

Officially, however, “the Egyptian Church is taking a separate side – it’s not really participating, or encouraging its members to participate in the events.”

The unprecedented protests have brought hundreds of thousands of Egyptians into the streets since Jan. 25, prompting President Mubarak to deploy security forces and shut down the means of communication – including internet access, text messaging and phone service – within the country.

At least 26 people have already been reported dead, although some government troops have allegedly refused to act against protesters. As of Jan. 28, the president was holding his ground, while acknowledging a number of economic and political grievances and demanding the resignation of his cabinet.

“This is an uprising calling for profound changes,” Shahin said. “It has narrowed down the options for the Egyptian regime: either change, or leave.”

Professor Shahin mentioned a number of statements coming from officials of the Coptic Church –including its leader, Pope Shenouda III – asking Copts not to participate in the demonstrations. They were urged, instead, to attend church services and pray for the peace and the well-being of their country.

But for many Coptic Christians, the prospect of a future without Mubarak – notwithstanding the uncertainty about who would replace him – held more appeal than the Coptic Pope’s call for restraint.

“If President Mubarak is removed, and these uprisings lead to the establishment of a true democratic system, then I think everyone will benefit,” Shahin stated. “It would ensure a fair representation of the Copts within the political structures and the state.”

“But we’re still really far from being there,” he acknowledged.

….continue reading

Let’s pray for a fruitful and positive outcome for ALL Egyptian citizens.

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39 Responses to “Christian Copts join Egptian protests against Mubarak”

  1. Lisa Graas Says:

    We have to pray that Mubarak can remain in power or someone in his circle. I am afraid Obama is trying to push Mubarak out and get Elbaradei in. This should not be.

    Read this.

  2. webmaster Says:

    Yes, it looks as if the Iranian leaders are pleased with events in Egypt and have their eye on the prize:

    Iranian leaders hope for Islamic republic in Egypt

  3. Lisa Graas Says:

    It appears that the US State Dept is echoing ElBaradei’s message. That is very troubling.

    U.S. State Dept.: “The Egyptian govt cannot simply shuffle the deck.”

    ElBaradei: “People will demonstrate, they will not go home until justice is restored and democracy is gained”

  4. Joel Says:

    The President actually supports the current leadership – don’t buy into conspiracies.

  5. Lisa Graas Says:

    Oh, yes, that memo from the State Dept is absolutely in support of Mubarak

    Give me a break, Joel.

  6. Joel Says:

    It also looks like the moderates on in control of this, if there be such a thing. The MB has said that they will not run a candidate for office. Further, when they started shouting their slogan, the moderates started shouting a unity slogan. (I posted on this earlier).

    No doubt that we must concern ourselves with the MB, but they shouldn’t prevent support for democracy. Also, I agree – no power vacuum. That would be bad.

  7. Joel Says:


  8. Lisa Graas Says:

  9. Lisa Graas Says:

    Hamas armed men are entering into Egypt and are closely collaborating with the MB. The MB has fully engaged itself in the demonstrations, and they are unsatisfied with the dismissal of the Cabinet. They are insisting on a new Cabinet that does not include members of the ruling National Democratic Party.

    Security forces in plainclothes are engaged in destroying public property in order to give the impression that many protesters represent a public menace. The MB is meanwhile forming people’s committees to protect public property and also to coordinate demonstrators’ activities, including supplying them with food, beverages and first aid.

  10. Lisa Graas Says:

    Joel, grow up and read news, okay?

  11. Goy Says:

    Looking at the images of the Cairo demos there is some level of orchestration techniques they are not as spontaneous as the Western muslim brotherhood friendly media are reporting.

  12. Lisa Graas Says:

    Jordan, same thing, smaller scale, January 21

  13. Joel Says:

    Lisa, you are connecting invisible dots.

  14. Lisa Graas Says:

    Joel, there are far more ‘dots’ than I am sharing here today. I suggest you go do some reading of news instead of focusing on progressive commentary.

  15. Roger Pearse Says:

    I read this evening that the looters broke into the Tutankhamun gallery and photographs of damage are circulating.

    Mubarak protected the Copts, as best he could and he arranged the release of the Coptic patriarch from the internal exile in the Wadi Habib where Sadat had sent him. Corrupt his government may have been, but what Arab state is not? An autocrat he was, as Nasser’s heir was always going to be, but he kept Egypt from war, and gave it more prosperity than it has known since colonial times.

    The problem I see is that, if Mubarak is overthrown, who replaces him? It’s not like East Germany, where the answer was “West Germany”. It might well be like Iran, where the answer was “the Ayatollah.” I notice, with unease, that it is the most pro-western states that have been targeted here.

    Who will be the Kerensky, and who the Lenin?

    Someone is orchestrating all this, that’s for sure. Such things have to be organised on some level. It is a pity that our news coverage is such rubbish.

  16. Roger Pearse Says:

    Thank you Lisa for the Turkish coverage of events in Jordan.

  17. Lisa Graas Says:

    Roger, I didn’t get the link from a Turk. Nothing wrong with that report.

    From John Bolton:

  18. Lisa Graas Says:

    P.S. The reason I shared the report on Jordan was to demonstrate that the Muslim Brotherhood incites the poor to “social justice” to force government “hopenchangery” rather like the Left here (Soros) co-opts the Catholic social justice movement to force government “hopenchangery”. This is what is happening in Egypt as much of the protests are about the poverty there. It’s being cast as a mostly economic protest…..but it’s “hopenchangery” in action, a hallmark of the Muslim Brotherhood in democratic countries like Egypt and Jordan.

  19. webmaster Says:

    From the above linked article:

    ……this is not a choice between the Mubarak government on one hand, and sweetness and light, Jeffersonian democracy on the other.


    And I think there is substantial reason, for example, to worry the minority Coptic Christian population, about 10% of the population will be very worried if the Muslim Brotherhood came to power.

    Sadly my concerns in the blog post appear to have some validation….

  20. Lisa Graas Says:

    I didn’t meant to use the word “democratic”. Egypt and Jordan are not “democratic”. Both are certainly better, however, than Sharia Law and its Islamofascism.

  21. Webmaster Says:

    More from Professor Barry Rubin:

    Special Report: The Revolt in Egypt and U.S. Policy

  22. Lisa Graas Says:

    I agree with Rubin on the precedents. Compare to what I just said about the Muslim Brotherhood and ‘hopenchangery’.

  23. Goy Says:

    The liberal sweetness and light, Jeffersonian internet democracy useful idiots have had their fun on the streets, if they dissipate it will be a straight fight between the army and the manipulation of the people by the Muslim Brotherhood.

  24. Keith Rice Says:

    “Personally, I am concerned that any power vacuum created by this situation could potentially be exploited by Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood.”

    I have to wonder if the situation wasn’t incited by such groups. But then with Iran alone in the Islamic world making this their top news story … and cheering on the rebellion. I have to wonder what hand Iran is playing?

    Keep in mind the Sunni – Shiite animus, with Iran the dominant Shiite faction capitalizing on the long standing Shiite base in largely Sunni Egypt.

    The outcome will not be good, not for Arabs, Muslims, or anyone else except a handful of Islamist power mongers.

  25. Keith Rice Says:

    I think Rubin hit the nail on the head.

  26. Lisa Graas Says:

    Joel, is Politico pushing conspiracy theories?

  27. Joel Says:

    Lisa – first, you are suggesting that the President is inciting the rebellion/revolution and in a small way, associating him with the Muslim Brotherhood. Not that the foreign policy trails pre-exist his presidency. Further, note the long term oppression in Egypt.

    I agree about Mubarak and the Copts, Roger – Saddam protected the Christian minorities there as well. Of course, the reports from the streets give hope that the moderates are more in control than the MB. The MB, according to reports, have declared that they will not run a candidate for President while the populace in the streets shouted that regardless of religious identification, all were Egyptian.

    Back to Lisa. The fact is now, that the President is inching away from the current leadership in Egypt because it looks like he is going the way of the dodo and sanity in American politics. It would be standard for the American President to, especially given the level of action, hedge his or her bets.

    As far as this being orchestrated by Egyptians? I would say, especially after talking to someone today who was one the ground at the start of the first protest, that no doubt, the start of this protest is indeed a planned thing. But, then again, so was the American Revolution. On the heels of a successful revolt in Tunisia, pro-democracy factions may have felt that indeed, it was time to strike. And?

    Again, invisible dots.

    What we need to do is to pray that the noncombatants are kept safe, that our Coptic brothers and sisters are to be a light, and that there is no power vacuum. Oh, and that conspiracies involving the President would stop.

  28. Goy Says:

    FCO living in fantasy land so slow in advising and evacuating British citizens, maybe due to the fact that it is infiltrated by MB sympathisers.

  29. Goy Says:

    “… the reports from the streets give hope that the moderates are more in control than the MB …”

    Mohammed Elbaradei – friend of Iran, is the stalking horse of the muslim brotherhood, this is an islamic revolution.

  30. Lisa Graas Says:

    Anyone prepared to give a rousing defense of President Obama’s boldness is addressing Islamism? Get back to me when you have it.

  31. Dioscorus Boles Says:

    The Muslim Brotherhood are lurking in the dark and shadow to launch Act 3 of this uprising. Act 1 of all “popular uprisings” is undermining and collapse of the present regime by mass demonstrations; Act 2 is transitional takeover government made of all parties; Act 3 is seizing power by the most organised and violent party. THis is what happened in Iran in 1979 and in Sudan in 1985. I have no much hope of the present Egyptian protests, not because I love the present regime but because the Islamists’ factor destroys every hope of democracy in Egypt.

  32. Joel Says:

    not sure why the President of the United States has to address ‘Islamism’.

    I believe that the supposed threat of the MB is overblown, actually, but if it is not, that is means only that more prayer and determination to uplift the voices of the moderates should be made.

  33. Keith Rice Says:


    You’ll note that Obama was reticent to get involved when there was a rebellion against Islamist Iran. Now that the uprising in Egypt is Islamist, he’s supporting them.

    It seems to me that Obama wants to prove to Islam that he’s their friend, he’s invested a lot in that position and has gained nothing.

    It’s like Carter bending over backward to please the Soviets to prove that America was their friend.

    Unfortunately, the Soviets were on the slide while Islam is on the rise – the net result of Obama’s vanity will not be so good for the world.

  34. Joel Says:

    Keith, obviously you fail to note the implications of Americans supporting anything in the Middle East. The President is taking a wise stance by not actively playing our hand in this. Even the GOP is supporting him on his stances here because they know what is at stake.

  35. Gordon Says:

    May I refer you to Fox News’ presentation on the situation in Egypt:

  36. webmaster Says:

    @Gordon that is so shameful, no wonder folk are turning to Al-Jazeera

  37. Dioscorus Boles Says:

    This is just to say that the news broadcasters, whether Arab or western, do not really tell the full truth of the situation in Egypt – there are many, so many, people in Egypt who support Mubarak or do not want him to go because they fear what may come after him, particularly the hateful Islamists. I hope a balanced reporting is undertaken and provided to viewers across the world.

  38. Goy Says:

    The B.B.C. (01.02.11) report – ‘Carnival atmosphere’ at demo – while they show images of demonstrators hanging effigies from lamp-posts, they are reporting this as if it were a prelude to a Middle Eastern summer of love now that is a falsehood straight from the muslim brotherhood propaganda manual.

  39. Dioscorus Boles Says:

    I have watched Al Jazira, both Arabic and English, and one cannot fail to see that they are actively instigating the public to throw Mubarak. They lie constantly – today they have been saying that in Midan Al-Tahrir and around it MILLIONS of protesters gathered, when all neutral reporters were talking of hundred thousands. These Arabs want Egypt to get into choas, and so that the Islamists find their chance to rule.

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