It feels strange for me to see TV News coverage from Tahrir Square, Cairo. I lived just off the Square for several years. Someone I grew to respect was Ramez Attallah, General Director of the Bible Society of Egypt. He recently sent me a report I think may be helpful to you.
‘It has been 3 years since the January 25th revolution. The subsequent Islamist victories in both parliamentary and presidential elections came as no surprise. Egyptians are very religious by nature, and the masses seemed to be manipulated by religious slogans and then intimidated by a show of force. Many feared that – once the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) was in power – Egypt would be saddled with a “theocracy” for decades to come.
It was surprising how quickly the Islamist agenda was discredited and Egyptians turned against the Muslim Brotherhood.
In spite of threats of violence by the deposed MB – over 20 million people voted in the recent referendum on a Constitution, which upholds human rights.
On the 25th of January anniversary of the uprising, millions took to the streets in support of the direction of Egypt’s present government.
The Egyptian masses are no longer to be underestimated!
‘The high level of violence, attributed to the MB since their removal from power, has made many Egyptians hate them. The West has not sufficiently condemned the Islamists for their violence, choosing to focus instead on police brutality when resisting them. As a result, many Egyptians blame the West for indirectly supporting these acts of terror!
‘As we look forward into 2014, the tide has been reversed: instead of an Islamist majority imposing its will on moderate Muslims and Christians, we have a government that is determined that the MB has no control over the media or politics!
‘This has made it extremely difficult for those who – although they have no sympathy for the Islamists – believe that true democracy should allow them to freely express their views. This position is held by many – i.e. intellectuals, the youth and virtually all western media. Yet both past and recent experiences with the MB have become the grounds for the government’s strong-handed repression.
‘So where do we stand as Christians? With the MB out of leadership, we are grateful for a new degree of inclusivity and respect towards the Church.
In my lifetime I have never seen such openness to Christians in Egypt.
‘On the other hand, while we see no viable alternative solution to restrain the Islamist violence, we do not want to align ourselves uncritically with hatred or discrimination towards any human beings.
Thank God for church leaders who continue to call for an attitude of love and forgiveness towards everyone.