Egypt (MNN) — Egypt's President, Mohamed Morsi is coming up on his one-year anniversary in office.
Instead of a celebration of a job well done, he faces a showdown in the streets this weekend.
In an effort to quiet the growing agitation, he tried to reassure the nation, admit his mistakes, and quiet the demands for his departure. Instead, there were violent clashes between Morsi supporters and the opposition, a move that observers fear could be a microcosm of what's yet to come at the Muslim Brotherhood rally for Morsi scheduled Friday and the Rebel protest on Sunday.
Open Doors USA spokesman Jerry Dykstra observes, "He didn't' specifically deal with what's going to happen this weekend. So it's just going to play out, and I think he's pretty much helpless to do anything about it."
Protests are moving ahead as planned. Millions of Egyptians are expected to come down not only to the presidential palace in Cairo, but to every major square all over the embattled country. Stirring people up, the continued circulation of the "Rebel." Dykstra explains, "The Rebellion initiative is a campaign coalition of Egyptian opposition groups which formed several months ago. They've been calling for his resignation and that new presidential elections are held. They're very dissatisfied with the status in the country."
Add to that the threats against Christians: "They have been further marginalized during the year of Morsi's reign. There are more charges of blaspheming against Christians now [more] than ever before," and all it will take is one small catalyst to initiate a major chemical reaction. Dykstra says, "Christians are probably part of that protest on Sunday, but they want it to be peaceful protest, and the Muslim Brotherhood has promised that if they go to the streets, they're going to be in harm's way."
The problem compounds when the military is warning both sides that it will step in to maintain order. Is that a good thing? Not necessarily. "Whose side are they on? Are they on the side of the rebel groups, or are they on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood? That's to be determined. But they've already deployed troops all over the major cities in Egypt. We don't know. Everything is up in the air. Everything is very fragile." *Michael, an Egyptian Christian leader, notes, "The heat of the flame together with the heavy dark smoke produced by the reaction of the two substances gives a warning alert that a possible explosion in most likely to happen.
"On one side, the Rebel movement of volunteers is working every hour preparing for the large demonstrations and related activities that are expected to sweep the country this Sunday. They are urging Egyptians who oppose the rule of Morsi and his regime to participate in the national protest. On the other hand, Morsi and his supporting parties of Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists are also working extensively to fight against the Rebel campaign by stirring up their submissive followers to attack the campaign volunteers and offices by words and deeds."
"This unsettled situation has forced many people in Egypt to fall victims to fear and panic due to the unknown," states Michael. "Sadly, a considerable number of Christians (or at least those who say they are) have also lost hope. Everyone is desperately wondering if a neutral agent can be added to the reaction or that someone or something can turn the fire off to stop the anticipated explosion. Some people consider the possible intervention of the army and a renewed commitment of the police to stand by the people's side rather than the rulers a small window of hope."
But Dykstra says believers still cling to the belief that the Lord is good. "They ask Christians worldwide to pray for their situation. One of the contacts says, ‘The living church in Egypt continues to cry out in the name of the Lord, day and night, so His will should be done throughout the current dilemma. We only see hope in the assuring and comforting shining face of our Jesus, whose presence can't be mistaken.'"
Dykstra says they're praying that violence will be held at bay. A tall order, considering President Morsi's Wednesday speech was greeted by two deaths already. "Pray that Christians may continue to shine with the love of peace in uncertain and tense times. [Pray that they will] stand strong in their faith and not forget that the Lord has stood with them for years and years in Egypt and that He will ,continue to do so."
*Not his real name, which is protected due to security reasons.