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So goes Egypt, so goes North Africa

By July 5, 2012

Egypt (MNN) — For months leading up to the elections, Tom Doyle with e3 Partners predicted a Muslim Brotherhood win in Egypt's presidential elections. Now that Mohammed Morsi has indeed won the presidency, Doyle says Sharia law is around the corner–and not just for Egypt.

Doyle is a Middle East expert and the Vice President for Church and Ministry Partners for e3 Partners. All along, he's said that if the Muslim Brotherhood took over, Sharia law would follow. Despite Morsi's many promises to Westerners that he will support women's rights, protect Christians and uphold human rights, Doyle's opinion hasn't changed.

"Now they have Mohammed Morsi, who has said one thing to the Western press, and another thing to the Middle East press," Doyle explains. "As he speaks to the Brotherhood and other Muslim groups who would be called hardline, he has definitely said that he would like to see Sharia law instituted, and he'd like to rip up the peace treaty with Israel, and on and on. And all of a sudden, the Middle East becomes very unstable if any of these things are acted on."

The Muslim Brotherhood, which has until now been fairly suppressed in Egypt, has been waiting for a government opportunity for decades. Now that they have the chance to rule, Doyle doesn't think it'll take long for things to change in Egypt.

The bigger problem is: Sharia law might begin in Egypt, but it won't end there.

"The plan all along from hardline Muslims is to take northern Africa and move on down," says Doyle. "I would expect for them not only to get very strong in Egypt, but to make a play to influence all of North Africa. Once they have that, then they're in a much stronger position to influence the whole continent of Africa."

This is a particular threat for vulnerable North African nations in the midst of transition. Post-revolution Libya, for instance, would be an easy target for a group like the Brotherhood's influence, says Doyle. Hardline Islamists cover much of Sudan and Tunisia as well.

The result of this strong influence by the Muslim Brotherhood could be extremely severe. As a quick history lesson, Doyle points out, "They have been the umbrella group for radical Islamic terrorist groups. We've got Hamas, Islamic Jihad–you don't have to go far from Egypt, just over the border into Gaza, to see all kinds of groups cheering when Morsi wins the presidency."

The situation is looking grave politically. But interestingly, this increase of pressure could be a good thing from a Gospel perspective in the traditionally hard-to-reach North.

Doyle explains, "Here's kind of the formula in the Muslim world: the more radical it becomes, there is a fear among the people–there's no question they accomplished that agenda. Then it seems like the church grows."

Often, the more hardline a nation is when it comes to Islam, the more that traditional Muslims seek out alternatives. For instance, Iran may be governed by Sharia, but the church is bursting at the seams. Already, e3 Partners has seen a swell of conversions in Egypt. Doyle says we should expect that to grow in Egypt and the rest of North Africa as hardliners come in.

That doesn't make the situation remotely easy, though. Pray for believers in Egypt especially as they face a new reality under the Muslim Brotherhood regime. Pray that the Lord would be preparing the church all over to stand firm, remain faithful and spread the News that North Africa's been waiting for.

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