A Concise Review of Current Issues
17 August 2013
CAIRO: Sit-Rep – Security Conditions Deteriorating; Army taking larger role in daily government; Economy crashing; Tourism non-existent; Secular/civilian authorities neglecting needy; Christian groups facing severe harassment; General instability across the region giving al Qaeda means for growth and action across the region.
Narrative: Coptic Christians being blamed for Muslim Brotherhood/Morsi failure
According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism News affiliates, forces loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood have burned churches as a “favorite target for Muslim Brotherhood supporters and other radical Islamists across the country.” This comes on the heels of the military’s move on August 14th to push Morsi supporters who had encamped in Cairo, out of the city. According to IPT’s John Rossomando, “Approximately 1,000 Muslim Brotherhood supporters set fire to the Churches of Abraham and the Virgin Mary in Menya. Angry mobs also targeted churches, monasteries and other church properties in Alexandria, Suez and a number of other cities in Upper Egypt, according to Egypt’s Al-Ahram.
The main Coptic Church in Egypt’s city of Sohag, Mar Geergiss, was firebombed and burned to the ground.
(Photo: IPT News)
An al Qaeda flag was flown over the St. Theresa Church in the Upper Egypt city of Assiut before the church was burned. IPT News quoted a report by Vatican Radio: “It is a climate of violence, and the people are scared.”
According to IPT, “…if you ask some Muslim Brotherhood leaders about the Christian –Muslim relations, things have never been better.” This comes in the wake of Coptic priests and lay clergy having been murdered. In Washington D.C., Muslim Brotherhood political face Abdul Mawgoud Darderyl responded to questions denied that the Muslim Brotherhood was anti-Christian. According to the IPT’s report, Darderyl claimed that relations were the best they have been n 1,400 years. Sadly, even with current events; that may be true. But it does not make the Muslim Brotherhood pro-Christian or the current fate of Christians in Egypt any safer. Rossomando writes: “It’s a tragedy for all involved. But the Islamists’ reaction – to attack a Christian minority that might comprise 10 percent of the country’s population – is an outrage that exposes the depravity of their thinking. Scapegoating, conspiracy theories and attacks on innocent bystanders. They all show the hollowness of Dardery’s platitudes and what the Brotherhood really believes about Egypt’s Coptic Christians.”
The term ‘Coptic Christians’ or ‘Copts’ is a designation of any Egyptian who follows the Christian rather than the Muslims. The majority of Copts follow what is called in the vernacular, the Alexandrian Orthodox teachings. There are also Protestant Copts and Catholic Copts. As such, all are targets of the Islamists.
al Qaeda Heavily Invested in Success of Islamic State of Egypt
Ayman Zawahiri the current leader of al Qaeda world-wide was born and raised in Egypt. When the Muslim brotherhood ‘won’ the election; he was one of the first to congratulate the new ruler. Zawahiri had always maintained a vision for a fully Islamic Egypt but had put those plans on hold to serve under Osama Bin Laden. Once Zawahiri was the head of the snake, he could re-direct a focus to helping usurp Egypt’s democracy in hopes of bringing in a new Sharia State. He strongly backed Morsi and now that the Muslim Brotherhood has failed to meet Zawahiri’s expectations, it is no doubt a very personal issue for him. It should be expected that Zawahiri to go out of his way to punish those he sees as bringing about the current disaster in Egypt.
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al Qaeda Expands Across the Middle East; Involved Heavily in Syria
The Investigative Project reports that “Islamic militants connected with Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, have marked Assyrian Christians for death unless they embrace the group’s hard-line interpretation of Islam.” In an SCI/ICTOA report ‘A New Spin on the World’ just this month reported that such declarations are in line with the Prophet Muhammad’s teaching, “I have been ordered to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah. If they say it, then they save their lives and property from me unless otherwise legally required.”[i] As concluded in the SCI/ICTOA report, “The al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant rebel group in Syria…(assassinated) a rebel commander for the more moderate Western-supported Free Syrian Army earlier this month. The group also staged a massive coordinated attack on two prisons in neighboring Iraq on July 21 that resulted in the escape of more than 500 inmates, including senior leadership of al-Qaeda as well as other terrorists linked to the group.”[ii]