Egypt's interim government resigned Monday, apparently to allow army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is also serving as the defense minister, to run for president. Meanwhile, ousted President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was accused of spying for Iran.
Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, who was tasked by interim President Adly Mansour with running the government's affairs until the election due in April, declared the government's resignation in a speech that was telecast live Monday.
Beblawi said his government "made every effort to get Egypt out of the narrow tunnel in terms of security, economic pressures and political confusion." more >>
A bomb exploded in a tourist bus in Egypt Sunday, killing three South Korean Christians and the Egyptian driver. Egypt's Islamist insurgency, which began after the military removal of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood last year, has become a major threat to the country.
About 32 Koreans were traveling from St. Catherine's Monastery, an Orthodox and UNESCO World Heritage Site in Egypt's south Sinai, to neighboring Israel when an explosion ripped through the bus about 250 yards from the border on Sunday afternoon.
It is believed that Moses received the Ten Commandments from God around the site of this monastery, which is officially known as "Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai." more >>
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has ordered Egyptian Muslims to stop persecuting their fellow Middle Eastern Christians and instead focus their energy on confronting the military-backed government.
Ayman al-Zawahri, an Egyptian physician who has been responsible for terrorist attacks in North America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East and dubbed as the "mastermind" behind 9/11, told his followers in an audio message posted to militant websites this week that they should stop antagonizing the country's Christians because "we have to be busy confronting the Americanized coup of (Gen. Abdel-Fattah) el-Sissi and establish an Islamic government instead," according to the Associated Press.
In July 2013, Egypt's military oversaw the ejection from power of then-President Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who was elected just a year before. Following Morsi's fall from power, Coptic Christians were made into scapegoats and targeted by Morsi-supporters after some Copt leaders had expressed their support of action against Morsi's regime. more >>
Egypt's interim president, Adly Mansour, paid a historic visit to Coptic pope Tawadros II on Sunday, the first such meeting in 40 years. While the meeting was aimed at reassuring Christians that the new government will be better than the Muslim Brotherhood, a watchdog group has warned that it remains to be seen whether this move will benefit Christians, or if it will lead to new attacks instead.
"This visit could be seen as a positive or negative. Of course, under former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, Christians were even more singled out and persecuted," Open Doors USA Media Relations Director Jerry Dykstra told The Christian Post in an email on Monday.
The watchdog group has closely monitored the attacks Christians in Egypt suffered this past year following the fall of Morsi, when Islamist groups attacked and burned down Christian churches, schools, orphanages and bookstores. Open Doors even asked for emergency support of $430,000 in August following news that followers of Christ were also being murdered. more >>
A prominent judge in Egypt has called on the government to ensure the equitable treatment of Copts in the country.
Judge Amir Ramzi has insisted Egyptian government needs to criminalize discrimination, as well as allow conversions from Islam to Christianity. He also called for the return of guidance sessions for those wishing to convert. Ramzi denounced the kidnapping of Copts and asking for ransom from their relatives, a phenomenon that has significantly increased recently.
"There may be a few extremist judges, and others belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood within the judiciary, or even who share the same ideologies. Thus, the Supreme Judicial Council has begun to take action against judges who declared their loyalty to the Brotherhood, viewing this as an official declaration of non-neutrality," Ramzi told Mideast Christian News. more >>
Copts in the village of Tarshoub, Beni Suef, Upper Egypt, are experiencing intimidation after extremists attacked them on Monday. Aggressors threw stones at Coptic homes, burned a tuk-tuk truck owned by a Copt named Magdy Fathi Rizk and a store owned by Badr Maher.
They also destroyed the fronts of some houses and called for the closure of the church, which dates back more than 40 years in the village.
Father Malak Shehata from the Fashn Diocese told Mideast Christian News that the village of Tarshoub has been served by Father Andrawis, who moved to serve in another location. When the Fashn Diocese delegated a new priest to serve in the village and Copts tried to prepare a residence for him in the church, some Muslims gathered and refused to let the priest enter the church. This was led by Muslim Brotherhood supporters in the village. more >>