Egypt (MNN) — Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is slated to stand trial starting on November 4 on charges of committing and inciting violence.
The response of his supporters to a trial is already raising security concerns, and for good reason. AMG International’s Tasos Ioannidis explains, “The violence actually continues. There was some violence earlier this week, and a number of people were killed. It is a difficult time.”
Over 50 people died on Sunday, and hundreds more were injured in street clashes across the country. This surge of violence raises new questions about the interim government’s ability to bring order to the restive nation.
Even as reports surfaced indicating the military was pillaging its way across the country indiscriminately, there were other reports that indicated the village survivors of the campaign were still being victimized. Ioannidis disagrees with the reports. “The way most of the Western news agencies are reporting the situation is not accurate. Our people on the ground are saying that the army has wide support from the people.”
Christians had feared the rise of an Islamist state in which they would suffer open discrimination and persecution. At the same time, moderate Muslims objected to the Islamization of Egypt, in favor of a secular government. It was the apparent government indifference to those objections that led to the ouster.
Aghast at their sudden fall from grace, the Muslim Brotherhood looked for someone to blame. They chose the weakest minority in the country: Christians. The Copts open supported the military takeover of Egypt from the Muslim Brotherhood. They also played an important role in the coalition demanding Morsi’s removal.
Enter: Islamist reprisal violence. After the attacks against Christian villages and churches, the Coptic leaders demanded better protection from their persecutors as well as justice. The good news, “The army has stated that they will help the Christians.” The bad news, says Ioannidis, is, “Right now, the army is also fighting an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, so their efforts are focused there and they’re also trying to fight the people from the Muslim Brotherhood that are still in opposition.”
“The Islamists are continuing to try to blame the Christians, to try to incite violence against the Christians.” But, in fact, the country seems to be riding a swell of nationalism similar to what was seen in 2011. Plus, he adds “even moderate Muslims are trying to protect the Christian community.”
AMG partners have shared some apprehension about their vulnerability as Morsi’s trial nears. “There are concerns because again, the Islamists are focusing on the Christian community, and they are trying to basically form a front for Muslims to show that Christians are behind all of this.”
The trouble has been disruptive to the quiet ministry in place in Egypt. Workers are keeping a low profile. However, Ioannidis is quick to add that their partners haven’t stopped living the Gospel of peace. “They are hoping that God will use this whole situation to draw many more people to Him in Egypt that Christianity will spread, that many more people will come to know Christ as Savior through this. They are seeing this already and that gives them strength and hope in the midst of all the persecution that they are facing.”
What can be done while the clock ticks down to the beginning of the trial? Ioannidis answers, “The main thing to pray is for God’s protection for the Christian community that they will continue to remain a light in the middle of this darkness and that God will use them to draw many people to Himself.”