A well-respected, powerful Islamic cleric of the Gaza Strip recently issued a fatwa, or religious edict, which ruled it a "sin" to disobey the Israel-Hamas cease-fire agreement brokered by Egypt last week.
"Honoring the truce, which was sponsored by our Egyptian brethren, is the duty of each and every one of us. Violating it shall constitute a sin," Suleiman al-Daya, an Islamic cleric reportedly respected by Hamas forces, wrote in a fatwa issued Saturday, Nov. 24.
The truce, or cease-fire, was reached on Nov. 21 after eight days of deadly fighting between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip. The fighting reportedly claimed 145 lives. more >>
The Christian persecution watchdog group Open Doors USA is calling on Christians to pray for a period of calm in Egypt in light of a volatile political atmosphere and massive protests planned for Cairo on Tuesday. Demonstrations and violence have been on the increase since President Mohammed Morsi issued a decree last Thursday that gives him more legislative power and protects his decisions from any judicial oversight.
"We as Christians need to pray that that there will not be mass killings on the scale we saw at the start of the revolution almost two years ago," Open Doors communications director Jerry Dykstra told The Christian Post Monday. "Egypt needs a period of calm, not more violence. But obviously Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have hijacked the high hopes of the revolution while increasing the persecution of Christians."
On Monday, Morsi told the nation's top judges that he did not infringe on their authority when he declared that he has near absolute powers, The Associated Press reported. A prolonged showdown between supporters and opponents of the Islamist leader appears inevitable. The large protests planned for Tuesday could be extremely intense, according to observers. more >>
Angry mobs in Egypt have torched the offices of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood government in several cities, protesting against President Mohammed Morsi's decision to give himself sweeping new powers.
On Thursday, Morsi announced that under the new decree, his decisions cannot be revoked by any authority in the country, the judiciary included. Many have called this a "coup," sparking a new wave of protests in a country that has seen great violence in recent years.
Egypt's state TV reported that offices were torched in the cities of Port Said, Alexandria and Ismailia, while three people have been admitted to a hospital in Cairo after they were injured in street clashes in the nation's capital. more >>
Egyptian officials have announced that a cease-fire agreement has been reached between Israeli and Hamas forces, which will take effect at 9 p.m. local time Wednesday.
The cease-fire agreement, brokered by Egypt, ends eight days of deadly fighting between Israelis and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, accompanied by visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, announced the cease-fire in a news conference Wednesday afternoon. more >>
Despite word earlier this week that Hamas and Palestinian leaders were negotiating with Israel to put an end to the latest deadly conflict, both sides have continued trading fire. Meanwhile, Christian organizations and concerned individuals have been calling for prayer in hopes of seeing peace restored to the Middle East region.
The Pilgrim Center of Hope, a Catholic Evangelization Ministry for the Archdiocese of San Antonio, shared in an opinion piece that one of the primary actions concerned believers can take is to pray for Christians caught in the conflict – whom the organization calls "the descendants of the first followers of Jesus."
"Pray! Pray for the Mother Church of the Holy Land. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ. They are united with us in the Christian solidarity of the mystical Body of Christ – the Church: 'If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members share its joy' (1 Corinthians 12:26)." more >>
As the death toll in the Israel–Hamas conflict rose to 97 Monday morning, Egypt's prime minister has said that negotiations for a truce were being discussed, with the Arab League and countries around the world hoping the deadly aerial assaults will soon come to an end.
"Negotiations are going on as we speak and I hope we will reach something soon that will stop this violence and counter-violence," Prime Minister Hisham Kandil said in Cairo during the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit.
"I think we are close, but the nature of this kind of negotiation (means) it is very difficult to predict," Kandil added. Egyptian intelligence Chief Mohammed Shehata has been trying since Saturday to force a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, but over the weekend Israeli rockets killed another 24 civilians in Gaza, where the main fighting rages on. more >>