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Egypt's Coptic Christians fleeing country after Islamist takeover

Tens of thousands of Egyptian Christians are leaving the country in the wake of the Egyptian revolution and subsequent Islamist takeover of politics, priests and community leaders say.

A woman prays hours before an Orthodox Christmas mass at a Coptic church in Cairo

A woman prays hours before an Orthodox Christmas mass at a Coptic church in Cairo Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Coptic Christian churches in the United States say they are having to expand to cope with new arrivals, as priests in cities like Cairo and Alexandria talk of a new climate of fear and uncertainty.

"Most of our people are afraid," Father Mina Adel, a priest at the Church of Two Saints in Alexandria said. "Not a few are leaving - for America, Canada and Australia. Dozens of families from this church alone are trying to go too."

 The Economist:

Egypt

The crisis of government isn’t over

The Islamists are fast losing their popularity, but their opponents are still too weak and divided to vote them out of office

Jan 5th 2013 (CAIRO)

IN A new year’s message Muhammad Badia, the Supreme Guide of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, advised his followers to temper resilience with magnanimity. “Be like the tree which, when battered by stones, drops its finest fruit,” he said.

His most prominent adherent, President Muhammad Morsi, has certainly proven resilient. Ignoring a tide of opposition that has swollen since he took office in June, Mr Morsi pushed through a controversial referendum in December to endorse a new constitution. Since then he has faced down challenges from Egypt’s restless judges, braved serial resignations of advisers and ministers, and parried opponents by sponsoring a national dialogue that is actually being held just by Brothers and their allies. At elections next month for the lower house of parliament, the Brotherhood’s party looks set to do well. In the interim, thanks to an election last year when only 10% voted, it controls the previously weak upper house, which the new constitution has helpfully turned into Egypt’s sole if temporary legislature.

 

Egypt strengthens Islamist role in cabinet, eyes IMF deal

By Tom Perry and Maria Golovnina

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt reshuffled its government on Sunday to strengthen Islamist control and pledged to complete talks with the International Monetary Fund on a $4.8 billion (2.9 billion pounds) loan deal to stave off a currency crisis that risks igniting more unrest.

A senior IMF official is due in Cairo on Monday to meet Egyptian leaders over the deal, which was postponed last month to give Egypt more time to tackle political tensions before introducing unpopular austerity measures.

Finance minister Al-Mursi Al-Sayed Hegazy was sworn in by President Mohamed Mursi as part of a reshuffle that expanded the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood's direct control over ministries.

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt reshuffled its government on Sunday to strengthen Islamist control and pledged to complete talks with the International Monetary Fund on a $4.8 billion (2.9 billion pounds) loan deal to stave off a currency crisis that risks igniting more unrest.

A senior IMF official is due in Cairo on Monday to meet Egyptian leaders over the deal, which was postponed last month to give Egypt more time to tackle political tensions before introducing unpopular austerity measures.

Finance minister Al-Mursi Al-Sayed Hegazy was sworn in by President Mohamed Mursi as part of a reshuffle that expanded the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood's direct control over ministries.

FRANCE 24 latest world news report 

First Christmas for Egypt Copts under Islamist rule

Members of an Egyptian Muslim family light candles at a Coptic Christian church in the historical centre of Cairo on January 6, 2013. Egypt's minority Coptic Christians celebrate on Monday their first Christmas under Islamist rule and amid a climate of fear and uncertainty for their future.

Members of an Egyptian Muslim family light candles at a Coptic Christian church in the historical centre of Cairo on January 6, 2013. Egypt's minority Coptic Christians celebrate on Monday their first Christmas under Islamist rule and amid a climate of fear and uncertainty for their future.

An Egyptian Coptic Christian woman stands outside a church in the historical center of Cairo on January 6, 2013. Egypt's minority Coptic Christians celebrate on Monday their first Christmas under Islamist rule and amid a climate of fear and uncertainty for their future.

An Egyptian Coptic Christian woman stands outside a church in the historical center of Cairo on January 6, 2013. Egypt's minority Coptic Christians celebrate on Monday their first Christmas under Islamist rule and amid a climate of fear and uncertainty for their future.

AFP - Egypt's minority Coptic Christians celebrate on Monday their first Christmas under Islamist rule and amid a climate of fear and uncertainty for their future.

"I do not really feel safe," says Ayman Ramzi, who feels his community threatened by the rise of Islamists in the world's biggest Sunni Arab nation.

 

Morsi Admits ‘Mistakes’ in Drafting Egypt’s Constitution

Mohammed Asad/Associated Press

Members of the Islamist-dominated upper house of the Egyptian Parliament met on Wednesday.

By

CAIRO — President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt took responsibility on Wednesday for “mistakes” during the run-up to ratification of the new Constitution and urged Egyptians to appreciate the fierce disagreements about it as a “healthy phenomenon” of their new democracy.

 

Future looks bleak for Egypt’s Coptic Christians

Morsi constitution disregards religious freedom

By Rep. Trent Franks

Tens of thousands of Coptic Christians took to the streets in the Maspero section of Cairo to protest the government’s failure to protect them from attacks on their churches. While the protests began peacefully, violence ensued after the Christians were attacked by civilians. The Egyptian military exacerbated the situation when army personnel carriers plowed through the crowds, crushing protesters as soldiers fired on unarmed civilians.

This horrifying massacre occurred on Oct. 9, 2011. What began as a peaceful protest to express frustration over attacks on Coptic churches ended in the staggering loss of innocent human life. Nearly 30 protesters died, many of them Copts, and 500 people were injured on that tragic day. The Rev. Filopater Gameel, a Coptic priest and eyewitness to the Maspero massacre, stated that “tens of thousands were devastated as they watched innocent civilians crushed and shot to death, and their only crime was participating in a peaceful march to reject the destruction of their church.”

 

 Morning Star News - Laguna Hills, CA

Saudi Textbooks Retain Hateful Refrains

Schoolchildren primed with pre-persecution slurs against ‘infidels.’

By Nina Shea

I have researched and written about the toxic content of school textbooks published by the Saudi Ministry of Education for almost a decade and have found that little has changed in them over this period. Last year, I had the opportunity as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to travel to Riyadh and meet with the Saudi minister of education, who is King Abdullah’s nephew and son-in-law, Prince Faisal Bin Abdullah Bin Muhammad al-Saud.

  CBS News


Egypt: Hard-line Islamic backers of draft constitution clash with opposition ahead of referendum

 

A supporter of Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood holds a copy of the Koran, Islam's holy book, as he shouts slogans during a demonstration in Cairo's Nasr City on December 14, 2012.

 

A supporter of Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood holds a copy of the Koran, Islam's holy book, as he shouts slogans during a demonstration in Cairo's Nasr City on December 14, 2012. / MARCO LONGARI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Waving swords and clubs, Islamist supporters of Egypt's draft constitution clashed with opponents in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria on Friday as tempers flared on the eve of the referendum on the disputed charter — the country's worst political crisis since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt's Economic Winter

By Ben W. Heineman Jr.

 

Morsi's power grab has made headlines, but the world's most populous Arab country has even bigger problems on its hands.

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Amr Dalsh/Reuters

 

The international media have made a huge story out of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's power-consolidating decrees and the balloting on his proposed constitution. How the fundamental political disputes -- between factions of the religious and secular, Islamic and Christian, and civilian and military, and between rich and poor and urban and rural -- will be resolved in the Middle East's most populous nation is seen as a harbinger for the political impact of the Arab Spring.

Egypt Atheist Blasts Islamist Regime

 

 

An Egyptian atheist convicted then released from prison on bail this week told The Associated Press Wednesday that the new Islamist government is no better than the dictatorial regime it replaced.

The blasphemy case against Alber Saber, 27, is seen by rights advocates as part of a campaign by Egypt's ultraconservative Islamists to curb free expression. It underlines the growing divide between the country's powerful Islamists and those who say their uncompromising approach is creating a new authoritarian system that does not represent all Egyptians.

 

Ensuring minority rights during change 

The processes of transition in the Middle East and North Africa that were kick-started by uprisings last year in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen have been experiencing a predictably rough ride over recent months, as new administrations struggle to turn the page on past abuses and to bring in lasting changes to institutional and legislative frameworks.

Minorities in these countries had hopes raised by the ousting of regimes that had subjected them to discrimination, failed to recognize their cultural rights or denied their identity altogether. However, while the diversity of those who participated in the uprisings has been celebrated, members of certain groups, including Copts in Egypt and particular Amazigh communities in Libya, have been the target of deadly attacks, leading them to be anxious about the future of ethnic and religious relations in their countries.

 

Mohammad Badie: A Voice in the Government

Mohammed Badie, head of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Mohammed Badie, head of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. (AFP-Getty Images)

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is the biggest opposition group running in the country’s parliamentary elections this week, but don’t expect to see its name on the ballot: the movement is banned and its candidates run as independents. In 2005 the group swept 20 percent of the seats, but a repeat performance seems unlikely. Hundreds of members have been arrested in recent weeks. Mohammad Badie, 67, a trained veterinarian who has spent more than 12 years in jail, was chosen to lead the group at the beginning of the year. He faces strong pressure from outside as well as internal dissent. He spoke with NEWSWEEK’s Babak Dehghanpisheh in Cairo. Excerpts:

Egyptian constitutional referendum marked by low turnout, allegations of fraud

By Johannes Stern

On Saturday, the first round of voting on Egypt’s draft constitution took place in ten of the country’s 27 governorates, including Egypt’s two largest cities, the capital Cairo and the coastal town of Alexandria. Egypt’s remaining 17 governorates will vote on December 22.

Coming after three weeks of mass protests against Egypt’s new Islamist President Mohamed Mursi and the ruling Muslim Brotherhood (MB), the referendum was marked by low voter turnout, violence and allegations of fraud.

Financial Times

Morsi returns to secretive ways, say critics

For years, Mohamed el-Gebba bristled under the dictates of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the secretive and hierarchical organisation he had embraced as a teenager, only to be told by his elders that it could not emerge as either a real political party or a bona fide charity under the rule of Hosni Mubarak.

But even after Mr Mubarak was overthrown in last year’s revolution, Mr Gebba said, he found the Brotherhood refused to open up and, in many ways, became less transparent once it began to acquire real political power.

شعار جريدة الفجر 

رسمياً:وفاة 4 متظاهرين وإصابة 346 فى اشتباكات الاتحادية

أكد الدكتور محمد سلطان رئيس هيئة الإسعاف المصرية أن عدد ضحايا الاشتباكات الدائرة في محيط قصر الاتحادية الرئاسي الذين نقلتهم سيارات الإسعاف بلغ حتى الآن 3 قتلى و346 مصابا، إلا أن الدكتور ميلاد إسماعيل مدير مستشفى منشية البكري صرح بأن المستشفى استقبل في الساعات الأولى من فجر اليوم الخميس جثة لشاب يدعى هاني سند الإمام (32 سنة) من محافظة الدقهلية توفي إثر إصابته بطلق خرطوش في الصدر بالقرب من القلب، ليرتفع بذلك عدد القتلى إلى أربعة.

A message from Tarek Heggy 

I write these words while surrounded by hundreds of thousands of the sons and daughters of Egypt in one of today's demonstrations (in Tahrir Square, the Abbasia square and Heliopolis).

The demonstrators' loud voice says "no" to the Ikhwan's attempt to sallow the Egyptian state, and says "no" to the Constitutional declaration of November 22nd that combined the legislative, executive and judicial powers in Morsi's hands.

While congregants days ago in front of Cairo university represented nothing but a set of 7th century (AD) values, today's crowds were combined of the best sons and daughters of Egypt. On Tuesday (27 November) I realized that the spirit of Egypt did not die. Today, I realized that the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood (that started five months ago) would soon vanish.

My advice to many of demonstrators was not let the fear of MBs to infiltrate there hearts and minds, and to have the courage to reject all their corrupt intellectual wares ... Even sensitive matters (such as the application of Sharia), we MUST have the courage to say it clearly: yes, we refuse that Sharia replaces our modern laws ...

I kept repeating my advice : Beware of despair or exaggerating the strength of this current obscurantist that is a sheer humiliation to Egypt's glory: Egypt of the great Pharaohs ...

Tarek Heggy.

Financial Times

OPINION 

Morsi has left Egypt on the brink

It is Friday evening in Tahrir Square. The smell of tear gas hangs in the air. We have completed three protest marches in a week, and many are settling down to spend the night. I find myself asking, “After 23 months of struggling to bring democracy to Egypt, is this the best we can do? A president claiming dictatorial powers. A parliament packed with Islamists. And a draft constitution, hastily cobbled together without basic protections for women, Christians and all Egyptians?”

What has gone wrong? The army, keen to protect its perks and to avoid prosecution, botched the post-revolutionary transition. It allowed the Muslim Brotherhood, eager to take advantage of its 80-year-old field organisation, to rush parliamentary elections. The outcome was a landslide victory for the Islamists, far beyond their real power base. The constitutional court, after review, dissolved this non-representative parliament.

The Liberated Shall stand in solidarity with those aspiring Liberation


DEAR CITIZENS OF THE WORLD,

Anonymous can not, and will not stand idly while people are being denied their basic rights and human liberties. The people of Egypt have shown to the world the power of their struggle. Indeed they could force the ex-president, Mubarak, to step aside, and also force the ruling generals to conduct the sought elections, yielding the current president of Egypt, Dr. Muhammad Morsi. However, Dr. Morsi has repeatedly shown how lack of care about the core values of democracy. Through elections he has reached to power because the people had to choose between him and the old regime. But now, Dr. Morsi is gradually grasping more and more authoritarian powers in his hands, attacking the whole concept of democracy. His latest constitutional declaration has given him the powers of a pharaoh and appointing him as the new God of Egypt.

The Economist 

The Egyptian president, Muhammad Morsi, is doing great damage to his country’s democracy

 

 

THE bespectacled Mohamed ElBaradei is a serious man with a pile of degrees in constitutional law and a Nobel Prize for running the UN’s nuclear agency. Last winter he warned of grave trouble if his country elected a president before defining the powers of the office in a new constitution. The generals in charge of post-revolutionary Egypt failed to listen.

That is something many Egyptians will now deeply regret. Muhammad Morsi, the Muslim Brother and winner of presidential elections in June, shocked the country by issuing a decree that assumes vastly widened powers for his office, including virtual immunity against judicial oversight. He then ordered the assembly that is drawing up the country’s new constitution to cram a month’s work into a single day—so as to produce a draft on November 29th, ready for a referendum in mid-December. All this has met with furious protests. The courts have gone on strike and demonstrators have taken to the streets in numbers not seen since last year’s revolution.

Morsi Following Khomeini’s Gameplan

Clare Lopez

Hamas jihadists in Gaza celebrate Morsi's election to the Egyptian presidency. (Photo: Reuters)

 

Clearly emboldened by U.S. validation of his role in handling Hamas during the Pillar of Defense operation, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi wasted no time in issuing a decree granting himself dictatorial powers. On November 22, 2012, Morsi sacked the prosecutor general and replaced him with his own man, thereby brushing aside the last branch of government that stood between him and the status of a “new pharaoh.”


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