Egypt (MNN) — Violence erupted in Cairo early Monday at a sit-in by supporters of former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, leaving many dead and raising the specter of civil war.
That's a prospect that is raising alarm in Israel. The connection? "Look at what is happening surrounding Israel," says Tom Doyle, Vice President of Church and Ministry partners for E3 Partners. He recites the list of enemies around Israel: "Hezbollah to the north in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza; the Syrian war, which shows no sign of ending…unrest in Jordan, Iran ready to go nuclear, and then, Egypt."
All that means the impact of the latest upheaval in Egypt is having a direct impact on the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip.
On the surface, the demise of the Muslim Brotherhood was good news for Israel, because it isolated Hamas in the Gaza Strip. However, with the Brotherhood's downfall, another danger presented itself in Egypt, adds Doyle. "That puts the Brotherhood back where they were 30 years ago as the agitators, as the terrorists, as the ones that the government is going to have to suppress because they will retaliate."
He goes on to explain, "Now that they're not the government, now that they're not the ruling party, they, in a sense, almost have more freedom to do the terrorist acts and things that they're typically associated with around Egypt."
Really what's coming next is a settling of old scores against a backdrop of a frightening power struggle. The Brotherhood called for a national uprising over an attack by Egyptian security forces Monday that killed at least 42 ant-military protestors during morning prayers. This is a pattern that is likely to continue, says Doyle. "Revenge is a big factor: settling the score. Today, just the numbers of people dead show that this situation could break into a full-scale civil war."
Doyle predicts the scope of retribution will spread. "All of that bodes really badly for Israel because now that the Brotherhood is out of power, we know there's going to be retaliation. And eventually, Israel becomes the target."
Why Israel? Doyle says that's the pattern of history. "It's always the same two: the believers become a target, and so does Israel. It happens every time."
Going back farther in history, Doyle says this struggle is clearly documented throughout Scripture. It's also a spiritual battle, he goes on to say. "How many times does this seem to coincide with the time of prayer and fasting (Ramadan), which is going to make it worse? We call the believers to pray for believers in Egypt, and really, around the Middle East and also for the nation of Israel."
With Ramadan just beginning, the fervor of Muslims seeking truth sometimes crosses the line into fanaticism. But rather than lose hope, Doyle once more looks at the pattern of history. "About 75% of the Muslims we find that come to faith in Christ say that something significant happened during Ramadan. They were crying out to God, they were looking for direction; they wanted answered prayer."
Combating terror with prayer is one way to approach the uncertainties of the Middle East and North Africa. "We're going to be praying for our brothers and sisters in those countries where it could be difficult for them in the midst of Ramadan.
"Secondly, we're praying for Muslims to come to faith in Christ." Doyle also says that E3 has a prayer campaign they're using throughout Ramadan where the body of Christ is encouraged to come together at 8:38 (local time) to pray for other believers, or to pray for a specific focus. They're utilizing social media to get the word out quickly and provide links and tools on their Facebook page. Click here for a link to the the 8thirty8 prayer campaign.