They gave the Muslim Brotherhood 48 hours to evacuate their strongholds–primarily at the Mosque in Wadi and in front of Cairo University, according to IN Network’s contacts. That time period ended sometime Saturday.
“The fear among the Christians and Egyptians at large is that it will definitely be an escalation and it could get very, very bloody,” says Rody Rodeheaver with IN Network.
Furthermore, the first official judicial statements have come against ousted President Mohammed Morsi. He is being held under allegations of connection with Palestine’s Hamas militants.
According to the state-run Mena news organization, the accusations state Morsi collaborated with Hamas for a jailbreak in January 2011, “setting fire to one prison and enabling inmates to flee, including himself, as well as premeditated killing of officers, soldiers and prisoners”.
Rodeheaver says, “The pronouncements here against Morsi are one more step in the chain and the escalation of events. The army has been calling for the people who support them to come out in the streets to show their support. Our people feel that is done in order to show the army has the support of the people of Egypt to step in.”
The expected clashes mean new danger for citizens in the crossfire. “Anybody who is out in the streets can become a target because people in these kinds of situations don’t wear uniforms except for the army,” says Rodeheaver. “So it’s very hard once the battle is engaged to know the difference. A lot of innocent people can be affected.”
Contacts with IN Network say they’ve seen an influx of foreigners connected with militant groups like Hamas. “[They are] making their way into the major cities in Egypt to support the Muslim Brothers,” Rodeheaver shares. “They are gaining strength in numbers as they face this impending showdown with the Egyptian military.”
According to Rodeheaver, Christians may become targets in this situation “because there is a sense that the Church is behind the army and behind some of these moves, and all kinds of rumors have been circulated to that effect.”
IN Network’s national staff and contacts have gone into hiding because of this. “It’s hard for us who have staff; we have nationals there who are in the middle of this,” Rodeheaver shares heavily. “It’s very hard to get them off your mind.”
It’s too dangerous at this time for many churches in Egypt to meet, but Rodeheaver says they’ve gone to their knees in prayer.
Pray for protection of Christians and the citizens of Egypt. Pray for peace and for the name of Christ to give hope in the midst of chaos.