What's Going on in Egypt?JOE CARTER
Here's what you should know about what’s going on in Egypt.
Here's what you should know about what's going on in Egypt.
The Muslim Brotherhood, begun in 1928, is Egypt's oldest and largest Islamist organization.
Founded by Hassan al-Banna, the Muslim Brotherhood — or al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun in Arabic — has influenced Islamist movements around the world with its model of political activism combined with Islamic charity work. The movement initially aimed simply to spread Islamic morals and good works, but soon became involved in politics, particularly the fight to rid Egypt of British colonial control and cleanse it of all Western influence. While the Brotherhood say they support democratic principles, one of the group's stated aims is to create a state ruled by Islamic law, or Sharia. Its most famous slogan, used worldwide, is: "Islam is the solution."
Ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was the head of the Muslim Brotherhood's political party, the Freedom and Justice Party.
Morsi served as president of Egypt from June 30, 2012 to July 3, 2013, when he was ousted by the military. He is considered to be the first democratically elected head of state in Egyptian history. He became Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) when it was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. He stood as the FJP's candidate for the May–June 2012 presidential election. Although most of his education was in Egypt, Morsi received a Ph.D. degree in materials science from the University of Southern California in 1982.
On 30 June 2013, mass protests erupted across Egypt calling for the President's resignation, following severe fuel shortages and electricity outages. The Egyptian military told the country's civilian government to "meet the demands of the people" or it would step in to restore order. Morsi was declared unseated on 3 July 2013 by a council consisting of defense minister Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb, and Coptic Pope Tawadros II. He is being held at an undisclosed military facility, facing a variety of criminal charges.
Since Morsi's ouster, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party have staged mass rallies and sit-ins across Egypt. Muslim Brotherhood officials said on the group's website that they will continue protesting until Morsi is put back in office. They say Morsi's removal is an illegitimate coup and they refuse to accept its validity. They refuse to recognize the interim government or cooperate with it.
On Wednesday security forces drove out supporters of Morsi from two sprawling encampments where they had been camped out for six weeks demanding his reinstatement. More than 500 people were killed in a security crackdown.
The protestors responded by destroying dozens of Christian churches and institutions.
The word Copt is derived from the Greek word for Egyptian. After the Muslim conquest of Egypt, it became restricted to those Egyptians adhering to Christianity.
Approximately 12 percent of the Egyptian population — roughly 12 million people — are Christians. Egypt's Copts are considered the largest community of Christians in the Middle East. The majority of Copts belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. About 800,000 are divided between the Coptic Catholic and various Coptic Protestant churches.
Joe Carter. "What's Going on in Egypt?" Acton Institute PowerBlog (August 15, 2013).
Reprinted with permission of the Acton Institute.
Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, online editor for First Things, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. A fifteen-year Marine Corps veteran, he previously served as the managing editor for The East Texas Tribune and the online magazine Culture11. Joe has also served as the Director of Research and Rapid Response for the Mike Huckabee for President campaign and as a director of web communications for both the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity and Family Research Council. He is the co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator.
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