After security forces stormed the village of Delga earlier this week and arrested a number of extremists wanted for assaulting police and vandalizing local churches, Egypt's Islamic party Gamaat Islamiya threatened to target Copts in retaliation.
In a statement issued by its political arm, the Building and Development Party, it said: "Any harassment to Delga's locals will ignite a state of ill-feelings towards its Christian locals, which needs to be prevented."
"The crackdown on Delga was made due to its anti-coup stance … ," according to the statement. "This campaign has proved that all claims of weapons stashed in the village are lies, as according to its announcement there was little or no resistance." more >>
Since Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown on July 3, his radical supporters have ruled the southern Egyptian city of Dalga, carrying out various attacks of vengeance against the city's 20,000 Christians, whom they blame for Morsi's overthrow. The military government took control of the city earlier this week, prosecuting the Islamists, but Christians fear the peace will be short-lived.
"The government and its forces are not going to be here for long and when they are gone we go back to living with Muslims, just us and them," Coptic Priest Father Ioannis told The Associated Press on Thursday.
"One day, all this police and army will go and we will have no one on our side," local Christian Sameer Hanna Tanyous said. more >>
Coptic Christians have reacted with nervous relief to the Egyptian military's pushback of the Christian-persecuting Islamist rebels who had taken over Dalga.
During the two and half months that Islamist rebels held control, Christians suffered the vandalism and destruction of a monastery, two churches and close to three dozen homes. Recently, they had reported that the rebel rulers had forced them to pay a "jizya" or tribute tax to the Islamists — in essence, bribing their oppressors to let them stay in their homes.
Further, Copt incomes also suffered severely — the majority of Christian-owned small businesses were shut down during the Islamist takeover. In response to these measures, hundreds of Dalga's 20,000 Christians fled the city. more >>
Rafiq Habib, a Christian researcher and son of the founder of a Christian social missions group, has reportedly become the acting chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) in Egypt, according to World Bulletin. Egyptian experts confirmed to The Christian Post about Rafiq's astounding support for the Muslim Brotherhood, but those who know him personally rejected the report that he is leading the Islamic political organization as true.
Michael Youssef, an Egyptian-born pastor and leader of Leading the Way ministries in Georgia, told CP in a statement Friday, "His father, Dr. Sam Habib, was a dear friend of mine." Youssef described the son as "a nominal Christian."
The Egyptian-born megachurch pastor disagreed that Rafiq had become interim leader of the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm in Egypt. "That is not true," Youssef wrote, adding "a spokesman denied this news." more >>
Dr. Said Sadek, a political sociology professor at the American University in Cairo, has urged the committee in charge of modifying the Egyptian constitution to be committed to human rights and freedoms, as well as to accommodate varied political views.
During a seminar held by the People's Committee of the Egyptian constitution and Beit Al-Wadi Foundation, Sadek said: "What guarantees the constitution's continuity is its ability to address the future, and its ability to eliminate social unrest … Egypt has suffered from tyranny that encouraged sectarianism."
"Any constitution giving the ruler several powers shall fall," he warned the government, while pointing out the need to adhere to the universal declaration of human rights. more >>
Several members of the Egyptian constitutional committee have called for the explicit prohibition of the establishment of religious political parties to be included in the new Egypt Constitution. The recommendation came during a session held in order to ensure equality among all citizens.
Mohamed Abul Ghar, civil currents representative at the committee, demanded the new constitution should ensure complete equality for all peoples of Egypt regardless of background, sex, and faith.
He also called for the strengthening of civil society so it would be able to stand in the face of any threat to equality and peace. more >>