Tag Archives: Muslim Brotherhood

Egyptian Catholic Bishop counters 10 myths about the revolution, Muslim Brotherhood, Christian persecution and more

The following excerpt is from a story published by ‘Aid to the Church in Need.’ ‘Aid to the Church in Need’ is a Catholic charity helping Christians who suffer persecution worldwide:

Bishop Kyrillos and Herman van Rompuy

Think Again: 10 Myths about Egypt’s Second Revolution

During a recent visit to the EU in Brussels, organised by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, the (Egyptian) Coptic-Catholic Bishop of Assiut, Kyrillos William Samaan (pictured above left) delivered the following report: “Think Again: 10 Myths about Egypt’s Second Revolution”.

In this document the Bishop responds to the more common queries about what is the nature of the situation in Egypt and what is reasonable to expect. These are responses he offered to EU policy-makers during the 17-19 September meeting and all remain relevant. The bishop referred to these questions as “myths” because of their power in the imagination of the people he met, and tries to dispel these myths at every opportunity. “We have to give the Egyptian constitution and the Egyptian people the chance they have been fighting for”, he said.

1. The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) represent the majority of Egyptians. In Europe we have Christian Democrats – are not the Muslim Brotherhood ‘Muslim Democrats’?

No.  The MB, in its political party form, obtained only 12 (million) out of a possible 50 million votes in the elections of 2011. Their rate of support fell sharply to as little as 5% when the Morsi government eliminated a pluralist Parliament and replaced it with one in which they were the absolute majority, was stopped short from replacing 3500 judges by people they knew would uphold Sharia law over the existing more secular laws, and declared illegal the work of foreign-funded pro-democracy and human rights NGOs. The MB, however, has an important detachment of press officers abroad still propagating a message of massive support with little or no bearing on reality in Egypt.
The above short list of exactions bears no comparison to any form of Christian Democracy as known in the West.

2. There are massive, peaceful pro-Morsi demonstrations still taking place and being suppressed.

They are an illusion fueled by the lack of presence of foreign correspondents outside Cairo.  A few hundred supporters still gather intermittently but they have worked with broadcast media owned by well-known Sunni Sheiks, even using images of the anti-Morsi demonstrations labeling them as pro-Morsi.
The demonstrations are not peaceful.  Extremists have attacked police stations with rocket-propelled grenades (Kerdasa, Aswan, Menya) killing many policemen. Many MB members are on camera threatening Christians of genocide and raising Al-Qaeda flags in the sit-in areas. Dr. Morsi himself is recorded on video calling the Shia “filth worth only of extermination”. Protestors have also paid families to resist the calls of the police to clear the area or face being expelled.

3. There was a coup and there is now a military government.

It was not a coup, but the military supporting the will of 33+ million Egyptians demonstrating in the streets under the slogan “Food, Freedom, Social Justice and Human Dignity”.

The MB international spokespeople have insisted on isolating two events as if they were disconnected: the elections that brought Morsi to power and his removal from office. There is little mention of what happened in between: the dissolution of the nascent democratic structures such as the pluralist Parliament in favor of the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly and the single-handed appointment of 13 MB regional leaders (out of 27).
The interim government is not military. It is a civilian government and the army has no intention of taking up power. In February 2011, when Mubarak listened to the people and stood down, he surrendered the government to a military council who proceeded to organize elections and a civilian government was installed. The lesson learnt then is replicated now and the interim
government is promising to have a new full government in 9 months, shorter again than the previous transfer of 15 months following Mubarak.

4. The Tamarod was organized by the military and pressured citizens to sign the petition.

No.  Tamarod is a youth movement, which started in May 2013 and the timeline of events demonstrates that the collection of the 22 million signatures (with full identification) started well before the army decided to ask Morsi to listen to the people. The Tamarod set a 30 June deadline for Dr. Morsi to respond to the demands, which included calling for early presidential elections.

5. Egypt had bad elections and a bad Constitution. There is no sign this time that things will be better.

Yes and No. Yes, the elections could have been better; Morsi came to power with 12 million votes in an election with approximately 43% turnout of the 50 million registered voters. Moreover, the multiple claims of fraud taking place outside Cairo had no electoral tribunal for recourse (pre-filled ballots, repeated voter names, etc.). Elections can only be improved with a truly independent electoral body and tribunal. In addition, a controversial move of the MB was to first hold the presidential elections and only afterward address the Constitution. This effectively prevented the majority of Egyptians, not members of the winning political party, to participate in the Constitutional process.
Lessons have been learnt. The new Constitution is now being drafted before elections, the Committee has a clear deadline in November, and it includes 50 Egyptians from all backgrounds, including Salafists and one former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, committed to “the creation of a constitutional Nation State, democratic and modern, founded upon a text approved by the nation supporting the separation of powers. Its current Article 3 defines “citizenship as the sole criterion of responsibility within society” (Source: interview of Mahmoud Azab, counselor for Dialogue to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University, La Croix 16sept2013).

6. There are waves of arrests against the MB; news media are being harassed.

Most MB members are free to live and participate fully in civil society. Judiciary mandates have been issued against individuals who have incited hatred and violence: committing murder (such as those caught on camera throwing youngsters off a roof in Alexandria), as well as perpetrating acts of violence against Egyptians, victimizing not only Christians but also the majority of Muslims. At the same time, the sources of funding used to buy weapons and explosives are also being investigated – and many lead to the MB. This is the origin of the order to banish the MB’s activities, as the investigation continues. The MB is constituted of several operating arms: political party, NGO, social services providers, etc. making the investigation difficult.
As to the alleged media harassment, the broadcasting and social media units that were closed (seen abroad as news media), are rarely more than the medium of expression of well-known foreign Sheiks financing their own objectives. Al-Jazeera is Qatar-funded, largely like the MB, and in Egypt Al-Jazeera has never pretended to be impartial. Most of these broadcasters have little to do with what the West considers as free and responsible media, necessary to a democratic society. (These are facts and are proved with relative ease). Meanwhile, language barriers also
play an important part in the misunderstanding abroad of what goes on in Egypt. Multiplying information sources is still the only way to overcome this challenge.

To read the rest of the story including myths 7, 8, 9 and 10 by Bishop Kyrillos click here.

Coptic Christian American: Our government naive toward Muslim Brotherhood, revolution in Egypt

Church burningIn an effort to help American Catholics understand what is going on in Egypt, the ‘National Association of American Lay Catholics’ (Lay Catholics) conducted an interview with a member of the Coptic Orthodox Church in America on August 20, 2013.

Previous to this interview, Coptic Catholic and Coptic Orthodox churches and institutions were burned by supporters of Egyptian President Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood while he was in office but, mostly after he was removed from office during the June 30, 2013 revolution.  The Egyptian military removed Morsi by popular support of the Christian and Muslim people alike.

Please read the Q&A interview between ‘Lay Catholics’ and the member of the Coptic Orthodox Church in America (the member is referred to as Coptic Orthodox Christian) below:

Lay Catholics

What is the most important thing you want people in the United States to know about the current situation in Egypt?”

Coptic Orthodox Christian:

It is two-fold.  Extreme brutality by the Muslim Brotherhood regime exercised on the Coptic minority both, while in power and after being ousted.  And the deafening silence and neglect of the free world (Europe and North America) to the plight of the Coptic Christians.”

Lay Catholics:

How many Coptic Christians have been killed in Egypt?”

Coptic Orthodox Christian

Since 1990, 5,000 Coptic Christians have been killed by the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates.”

Lay Catholics:

The Coptic Catholic Bishop of Assuit, Egypt said the West (Europe and North America) failed to acknowledge the scale of unprovoked attacks on Christians by ousted President Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters.  What would you like to say in this regard?”

Coptic Orthodox Christian:

The naïve perception in the West that the Muslim Brotherhood is a law abiding political group is gravely misplaced.  And as such, the revolt against the Muslim Brotherhood government and President Morsi expressed the sentiment of the majority of Egyptians.  Every call from the West to treat this revolt as a coup and every attempt meant to reconcile with the Muslim Brotherhood was used by the Muslim Brotherhood to escalate their brutality against the Coptic Christians, the peak of church burnings occurred after the visits and announcements of John McCain to Egypt.”

“The idea that the Muslim Brothers are peaceful law-abiding citizens and politicians is reminiscent of the calls in Europe to give Adolph Hitler yet few more chances to exercise his governance just because he was once freely elected.”

In a testament to the resolve of the persecuted Coptic Christians, the Coptic Orthodox Christian added:

The Orthodox Bishop of Minya (Egypt) said that he never saw the churches so packed as he saw them after they were burned.”

-end-

How can you help the Coptic Orthodox Christians?  CLICK HERE for information on the relief effort and CLICK HERE to go directly to donate to the relief effort.

coptic oppression relief fund

See important information and statements from the Coptic Orthodox Church regarding this persecution by the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates below:

CLICK HERE for the List of churches and Coptic establishments, that have been burned, destroyed or compromised (as published by the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt.)

Statement from the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt

Official Statement from all the Coptic Orthodox Bishops in North America

Catholic Bishop says the West (U.S. and Europe) should not support terrorists who use arms against Christians

Aid to the Church in Need

Coptic Catholic Bishop Kyrillos of Assiut, Egypt spoke with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) on August 19, 2013.  He called on Western governments (U.S. and Europe) to work with the country’s new government in defeating the Muslim Brotherhood who are responsible for terrorism directed against nearly 80 churches and other Coptic Christian institutions.

The following is excerpted from the article by Aid to the Church in Need:

Bishop Kyrillos 2Describing how, since Tuesday (August 13th), almost 80 churches, convents, Church-run schools, clinics and other centers were hit, Bishop Kyrillos (pictured left) criticized the West (U.S. and Europe) for failing to acknowledge the scale of unprovoked attacks on innocent communities by Mr. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
 
The bishop said, “The Western governments are speaking about human rights; yes, these groups have a right to demonstrate, but not with arms. The Western governments do not see the reality of what is going on here.”

“A group of terrorists have used arms against us. [Western governments] should not be supporting this.”

Speaking from Assiut, Bishop William (Kyrillos) added, “The [Muslim Brothers] think that the Christians were the cause of Morsi being ousted. But the Christians were not alone: there were 35 million who went on the streets against Morsi.”

“Christians are being punished. We have been scapegoated.”

He stressed that, in spite of repeated efforts, including those by Western governments, to encourage the Muslim Brotherhood to engage in dialogue, the Islamist movement had responded with violence.

His comments come as Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Sidrak of Alexandria issued a statement Monday, August 19, in which he declared our free, strong and conscious support for all state institutions, particularly the Armed Forces and the police, for all their efforts in protecting our homeland.”

Both he and Bishop William (Kyrillos) stressed how many Muslims had stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Christians in defending churches and other Coptic buildings from attack.

Bishop William (Kyrillos) said: “Our people are close to normal Muslims, moderate Muslims. When the fundamentalists came for the Christians in [Assiut’s] Old Town, the Muslims sent them away using arms.”

“In other cities, Christians and Muslims came to protect churches and they stayed next to the churches all day.”

He said that many Muslims shared the Christians’ view that there should be a clear separation between religion and the state.

Many bishops underlined how the attacks of last week came as a surprise. Bishop William said, “We had expected some response [from the Muslim Brothers], but not to this degree of brutality.”

Click here to read this article at Aid to the Church in Need’s website.

14 of 58 churches burned by Muslim Brotherhood are Catholic, says Egyptian Catholic Bishops’ spokesman

Agenzia Fides logoToday, Agenzia Fides, an information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies is reporting an interview of the spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Bishops.  The interview is with Fr. Rafic Greiche.

The full article from Agenzia Fides is below:

Fr. Rafik Greiche58 churches and Christian institutions were attacked and set on fire in Egypt in past days. This was reported to Fides Agency by Fr. Rafic Greiche (pictured left,) spokesman of the Catholic Bishops of Egypt. “Out of 58 churches attacked 14 are Catholic, the rest belong to the Coptic Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant communities” says Fr. Greiche. “The attacks against the churches took place all over the Country, but are concentrated especially in the areas of Al Minya and Assiut, because it is there that we find the headquarters of the jihadists (radical muslims,) responsible for this violence,” adds Fr. Greiche.
“It should be emphasized – the priest says – that Muslims who live in the vicinity of the affected churches have helped men and women religious to put out the fires of the religious buildings.”
“This is not a civil war between Christians and Muslims”, emphasizes Fr. Greiche. “It is not a civil war but a war against terrorism. And the majority of the population is against terrorism and religious extremism”, concludes Fr. Greiche.

Click here to read this article at Agenzia Fides’ website.

“The Islamists are taking revenge on us Christians,” says Egyptian Catholic Bishop Kyrillos

Aid to the Church in Need

Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy Father has today reported that the Coptic (Egyptian) Catholic Bishop of Assiut, Egypt, Bishop Kyrillos has stated, “The Islamists are taking revenge on us Christians.”  Islamists, being the Muslim Brotherhood or other dangerous radical groups like them.

The following is the full article from Aid to the Church in Need:

Bishop Kyrillos“The Islamists are taking revenge on us Christians”: With these words the Coptic-Catholic Bishop of Assiut, Kyrillos William Samaan (pictured left,) commented on the latest Islamist attacks on Christians and Christian institutions in Egypt.

The bishop made his comments while talking to international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) on Monday, August 12th. 

The Bishop was referring among other things to events in the towns of Sohag, Fayum and Beni Suef and on the Sinai Peninsula, where churches have been attacked by Islamists and Christians have been threatened. There have also been fatalities.

In the town of Sohag, there were reports that Islamic extremists had raised the black Al-Qaida flag over a church.

Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had accused Egypt’s Christians of being jointly responsible with the military and the forces of the Mubarak regime for toppling the Islamist head of state Mohamed Mursi on July 3 of this year.

“This is absurd, of course. 33 million Egyptians had demanded his resignation. We Christians (by the way, there are only 8 million Christians in Egypt) were not the only ones to demonstrate against Mursi,” Bishop Kyrillos said.

In view of the current security situation, the bishop said he was worried but that he did not wish to reproach the law enforcement forces. “The police and the other organs of the state are at present busy keeping the Islamists under control.”

The Bishop stressed, however, that the climate had changed considerably for Egypt’s Christians since the fall of Mursi. “We feel at home again in Egypt,” Kyrillos explained.

He went on to emphasize that non-Christian publicists would now speak up for the Christians by stressing that the Christians should not be expected to pay the price of democratization.

The Bishop also saw it as a positive sign that in Sohag or Assiut, for example, moderate Muslims had defended Christian churches against demonstrating Islamists.

“This is the true Egypt: Christians and Muslims are united,” Bishop Kyrillos continued.

According to him, this year’s message from Pope Francis at the end of the Islamic fast of Ramadan was received very positively.

For the first time the Pope had use the opportunity to address Muslims worldwide personally. In previous years, the letter had been published by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue on the Pope’s behalf.

The Bishop criticized the deposed Muslim brothers for refusing to accept the new government’s offers of reconciliation.

“The problem is that they (Muslim Brotherhood) still want to have an Islamic state. The majority of Egyptians are happy, however, that this has not come about. They want a liberal state,” Bishop Kyrillos claimed.

The bishop is optimistic with regard to the future constitution. A 50-strong committee would soon be revising the constitution drawn up under the Islamist Mursi and adopted by referendum.

Representatives of Egyptian Christians would also be collaborating in this effort.

“All social forces will work on it. I am confident that state and religion will be separated. After all, mixing them is the source of much evil.”

Orthodox Pope Tawadros IIThe Coptic-Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II (pictured left,) the head of the largest Church in Egypt, made a plea on Monday for the avoidance of further bloodshed in the face of denominational tensions.

According to media reports, the Patriarch has suspended the weekly audiences in his Cairo cathedral for fear of attacks (by the Muslim Brotherhood.)

Previously, 16 Egyptian human rights groups had accused the Islamists of stirring up feelings against Egypt’s Christians since June 30th, the day of the mass protects against Mursi.

The human rights groups also criticized the state for not doing enough to protect Christian institutions and individuals.

Click here to read this article at Aid to the Church in Need’s website.

Catholic Bishop: U.S. Ambassador sent erroneous analysis of support for Muslim Brotherhood

Minya EgyptIn an interview published August 1, 2013, Bishop Hanna of Minya, Egypt made many comments of great importance regarding the June 30, 2013 revolution in Egypt.  Included in his comments is one about the errors of analysis by the Obama Administration’s U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson and others.

Below are some excerpts from the interview by Agenzia Fides, an information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies:

  • “Western chanceries (administrative offices in Catholic dioceses) “have overestimated the real roots of political Islam in the Egyptian people” and now “remain floored and ambiguous before the scenarios opened by the revolution of 30 June,” while the Islamists “emphasize the role of Christians in that uprising also to justify the terrorist attacks being prepared against (Christians) them.”
  • “In past days, blogs close to the Muslim Brotherhood have labeled the new structure found by the country after the overthrow of President Morsi as the “Military Republic of Tawadros”, indicating Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II and his Church as the true architects of the popular uprising which led to the end of the Islamist government.”
  • “It is obvious” Bishop Hanna explains to Fides “that the Muslim Brotherhood wants to explain their political failure by resorting to the theory of ‘Christian conspiracy’.  To emphasize the role Christians had in the collapse of the Islamist regime will also serve to justify future terrorism against (Christians) them.”
  • “There is a plan of other attacks against churches, priests and religious that might be carried out when public controls in squares and neighborhoods – stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood finish.”
  • At the same time, even the Coptic Catholic Bishop (Hanna) confirms the wide participation of Christians in the anti-Morsi uprisings: “It is certainly out of place to speak of ‘Christian revolution’.  At least 30 million Egyptians took to the streets. But among the demonstrators there were always so many Christians (only 8 million Egyptians are Christian.)
  • In the West, however, the Egyptian facts have exposed the errors of analysis of North American and European diplomats: “The U.S. Ambassador” says Bishop Hanna, “continued to send reports in which it repeated that in Egypt the only force supported by the people were the Muslim Brotherhood.  They staked everything on political Islam, without seeing that the Islamists had won the election only because the people would not vote the leaders of the old regime.  But they (Muslim Brotherhood) took us into a tunnel where everything was getting worse by the day.  And at some point, the patience of the Egyptian people is over.”

Read the full story here from Agenzia Fides.  Agenzia Fides is an information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies since 1927.

Courageous Egyptian Catholic and Orthodox bishops under threat of martyrdom warn about Muslim Brotherhood

Bishop KyrillosCatholic and Orthodox bishops in Egypt (also referred to as Coptic Catholics and Coptic Orthodox/Coptic Christians) are under daily threat of being martyred for their faith by the jihadists of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Yet they show exceptional courage in the face of this threat.  Bishop Kyrillos, the Catholic bishop of Asyut in Upper Egypt (pictured left) said:

“I can’t discount the possibility of single acts of violence by the Muslim Brothers… “

He states the Muslim Brotherhood’s name in a country where he could be murdered by them at anytime.  Catholic and Orthodox priests and laity are being murdered and their churches burned down by jihadist muslims.  Read the full story here about Catholic Bishop Kyrillos and Orthodox bishops in Egypt.  Read a previous story about the courage of Egyptian Catholic bishops in the face of Muslim Brotherhood terror here.

American Catholic bishops do not currently live under the immediate threat of martyrdom that the Egyptian Catholic bishops do from the Muslim Brotherhood.  But, the Muslim Brotherhood does exist in America.  See minutes 8:25 to 9:23 in the video below from the Center for Security Policy:

American Catholic bishops should allow experts on the Muslim Brotherhood threat to America to speak at Catholic meetings in their dioceses.  American bishops who will not allow this type of information in their diocese can reflect on the bravery of their brother bishops in Egypt.  Egyptian Catholic bishops, who speak openly about the jihadist muslim threat knowing they could be murdered by the jihadists of the Muslim Brotherhood for doing so.

Thank you to our American Catholic bishops who endorse the Catholic radio stations who cover the subject of radical Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood and its existence in America.

O Holy Spirit, strengthen us to defend all that is holy.

Peter L. Hodges Sr.

Egypt’s Catholic Bishops’ support removal of Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi

Fr. Rafik GreicheEgypt’s Catholic Bishops’ support the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi as stated through Father Rafik Greiche (pictured at left,) head of the press office of the Egyptian Catholic Bishops’ Conference.  Excerpts are taken from the article that was published in Aid to the Church in Need (ACN.)  ACN is an international charity dependent on the Holy See, providing pastoral relief to needy and oppressed churches.  Full story is here.  Read excerpts below:

Father Rafik Greiche, head of the press office of the Egyptian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, emphasised that the military’s ousting of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was not a coup d’état. “The army carried out the will of the people…  A number of western media are now presenting it as a coup d’état. But a putsch happens when officers take power and act without the endorsement of the people. But this is exactly what did not happen in Egypt yesterday. Moreover, the army wanted to prevent the bloodshed the Muslim brothers were threatening. This is why they took action.”

“The ousting of Morsi and the political new beginning is a joyous day for us Christians in Egypt and for all Egyptians. We hope that we will not be excluded from the political process that lies before us.” It is too early to speculate about the future of the Islamist Muslim brotherhood. However, their failure was apparent to all Egyptians, he stressed. “The Muslim brothers were not ready to govern. Moreover, their focus was on setting up an Islamic caliphate and not first and foremost on Egypt. The people were no longer willing to accept this.” However, Father Greiche worries that the Muslim brothers who were ousted from power may take revenge and cause unrest. The first instances of Islamist violence against Christian institutions have already taken place in this context, according to Father Greiche. “Attacks were carried out against a Catholic church near Minya yesterday and the day before that. The building was slightly damaged and particularly Christian businesses in the surrounding area were affected.”

Father Greiche further emphasised that it is now the job of Azhar University in Cairo, the most important Islamic institution in the country, to return the young people who were misled by the ideology of the Muslim brothers to the right path.

Support the courageous Catholic bishops and the other christian leaders like Pope Tawadros of the Coptic (Egyptian) Orthodox Church who support the removal of the jihadist muslim group, the Muslim Brotherhood and their leader Mohamed Morsi.  These christian leaders are risking their lives.  I don’t think enough of us in America understand their sufferings of murder, rape and church burnings at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood.

What does Barack Obama think of the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi?  Well, it was reported in the June 18 edition of Sadi al-Balad that Ramses Naggar, the legal counsel for the Coptic (Egyptian Orthodox) Church, said that during U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson’s June 17 meeting with Pope Tawadros, she “asked him to urge the Copts not to participate” in the demonstrations against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Why would an Obama administration official working at his direction urge the Coptic Orthodox Church’s Pope to not allow his flock to demonstrate against the people responsible for murdering his people and attacking his churches?  Maybe, because Barack Obama has Muslim Brotherhood advisors in the White House.  Possibly, as many as 7 to 15 according to some sources.

O Holy Spirit, strengthen us to defend all that is holy.

Peter L. Hodges Sr.