Egypt (MNN) — Egypt's first-ever
democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, has already made history.
Now, he'll do it again by appointing a
Christian vice president as one of his first acts. He will also choose another vice president
who is a woman.
The Islamist figure, a Muslim
Brotherhood leader, promised to ensure rights of minorities. Farid Samir, the Executive Director of *SAT-7's
studios in Cairo, says despite the show of
good will, "Although most of the promises that he had made are positive,
it's not the promises. [Minorities] had fears of being treated as second-class
In a May 12th speech at Cairo University, Morsi
said, "The Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our
path, and death in the name of Allah is our goal."
However, the greater concern for Christians
came from a report Monday from Iranian state media. Samir says, "They're afraid of following
Iran's regime because the first announcement he made, he said, 'We want to
restore our relationships with Iran.'"
According to the semi-official Fars
news agency, Morsi views a renewal of diplomatic ties with Tehran as a way to
achieve "strategic balance" in the region. Samir says nobody is sure how far that renewal
will go. "They have two armies. One
army is the official army, and the other army is to protect Islam and to
protect the regime. So we don't know if this is what he means by 'following the
Iranian regime' or learning from that."
in what seems to be an about face, Morsi's policy adviser this week emphasized
that Egypt "definitely" would not be an "Islamic Republic."
Meanwhile, Egypt's courts suspended a ruling that said the military could arrest
citizens, forcing the military back from what was perceived to be a move toward
What does all this mean? It seems it's
an effort to allay fears of sharia, jihad, and religicide. Samir notes, "We
can't forget that this Muslim Brotherhood didn't just start now, but it was there
for 80 years, working underground. But
now, it's official." There's good
reason for concern. "There is a lot
of fear, also, about seeing the same violent acts against Christians, but this
time, with legal coverage."
Christians may face losing more of
their voice, more rights, and possibly, face more trouble. Reports of widespread evacuation have already
begun to file in.
The greatest concern: who will Morsi be to believers after the "honeymoon" period is over? Samir says, first, "Church leaders are
trying their best to strengthen the faith of people trying to talk about
higher authority of God over any humans, and that God's will is over all that's happening."
Then, SAT-7 studios in Cairo began
offering a forum for viewers. Samir
explains, "We started a current affairs show called 'Salt of the Earth,' bringing
hope, encouraging Christians to share in the community."
The events of the past few weeks have
revealed serious divisions in society, and many Egyptians are stunned. Samir adds that the uncertainty has had an interesting
effect on ministry. "They'll talk about our role as Christians in the
region, and the important thing is that the churches are full of people now. The
same day that they announced Morsi as president, the churches were full of people.
They seek God more now."
As an organization that does not take
political positions, SAT-7 supports viewers by teaching how they can apply
Christian principles to everyday life. In this case, says Samir, "We need this
to be effective. We include a dialogue between denominations, and between Christians and Muslims,
Biblical perspective helps. It emphasizes the need for an attitude
of reconciliation between election winners and losers, as well as a readiness
for participating in writing a new constitution. Samir adds, "Fear is not really logical, but
when we give some logic, and some biblical facts, it helps ease the fears down a little bit."
In the days ahead, there is a lot at
stake. Samir encourages believers to
stay involved in Egypt's emergence. It's
a painstaking process, and what the nation will look like on the other side
remains undetermined. "Pray for
protection for the staff and the facilities, for wisdom for producers, for presenters
to speak the truth. Pray also…for
people to read the Word of God."
*A Christian satellite and television ministry to the Middle East
and North Africa.