Egypt (MNN) — The announcement of the official presidential candidates, following the first round of voting in Egypt’s first-ever democratic election, climaxed in an arson attack.
A mob attacked and set fire to the campaign headquarters of one of the presidential candidates, Ahmed Shafiq, on Monday night after the announcement.
Ahmed Shafiq, former Mubarak official, won a spot in the presidential election finals with around 24% of the votes at 5.5 million.
Shafiq will be running against Mohammed Morsi, senior member and candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood, who claimed 5.8 million votes, or nearly 25%. Final elections will take place June 16-17.
Jerry Dykstra with Open Doors USA explains, “For Ahmed Shafiq, he is a former Mubarak official, and of course the whole revolution that started approximately 15 months ago was against Mubarak and his government. So now he is seen as being aligned with Mubarak, [which brings] some consternation with a lot of people in Egypt because that was what the revolution was all about.”
On the other end of the spectrum with Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, Dykstra says, “Some try to disguise themselves as moderate. But what I’ve learned is that the Muslim Brotherhood is a very strict Shariah law type of organization, and they want to make that a completely Islamic state. That would put the Coptic Christian community very much at risk.”
Coptic Christians in Egypt make up 10% of the population–one of the largest minorities in the Middle East. According to Dykstra, “They are very leery of their future, and already we have reports that 100,000 Christians have fled Egypt in the last few months.”
For Christians who are still there, 70,000 will be attending a prayer meeting for the future of Egypt tomorrow night in a cave church. This prayer meeting plans to go until 2 am Friday morning.
“They want the church to take an active role,” says Dykstra. “They’re praying not so much about politics and power, but they’re talking about a revolution of the heart, that Christ will become center in all of Egypt, and that they can reach out to their Muslim friends and their Muslim community.”
Dykstra asks, “Be praying about the unity of the church in Egypt, which especially is needed during these crucial times…also the fear of expected pressure and possible persecution if this election is won by the Muslim Brotherhood candidate.”