Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Are Diabolical Forces Undermining Egypt?

Roland Clarke

Egypt is embroiled in its worst crisis in thirty years. What does all this bloodshed mean? It seems significant numbers of Egyptians have woken up to the fact that their aspirations for freedom have been hijacked by radical religionists. They have been deceived by the Muslim Brotherhood who campaigned as so-called moderates and narrowly won the election. After enduring a year of broken promises under Morsi, the majority of voters have apparently concluded they don't want an Islamist regime. It seems many have realized what the Islamists are up to. They are seeing the real face of the MB and they don't like it.

Under Morsi's sharia-driven regime Muslims attacked churches and Christians with impunity. Not only so, no sooner did the military start disbanding obstinate camps of MB protesters than all hell broke loose as a series of attacks broke out against Christians. And no one can deny it was the MB protesters and Islamist allies who perpetrated these horrific attacks. Within a week 6 dozen churches were burned, vandalized or attacked. Morsi's supporters also attacked several dozen Christian schools, businesses and institutions. Among these were two Bible Society shops (Assiut and Minia) which were completely destroyed.

Interestingly, a number of Egyptian Muslims are objecting to these attacks against Christians. In fact, several dozen boldly stood on the street in front of the Bible Society performing namaz (prayers) asking Allah to protect Christians from such senseless attacks; see the below photo.

During this same period of rage an article was published online showing pictures of Islamists vandalizing a church. What makes this incident so astonishing is that it evoked a backlash within the MB ranks and caused them to deep embarrassment. The article is entitled, This is What it Looks Like Just Before the Muslim Brotherhood Jumps You, and is available online.

Another, more blatant, expose of MB deceit and lies is entitled, Egyptian Churches burn as the Muslim Brotherhood shows its true face. This article quotes a Twitter statement by the brotherhood spokesman, Gehad El-Haddad: We will always be non-violent and peaceful... Our peacefulness is our strength & we will never be dragged into violence. We unequivocally reject all forms of violence/vandalism. However, the burning and looting of dozens of churches shows a different story. Check Joel Richardson's blog here for photos and some insightful analysis.

On August 16th I received a letter from an evangelical church leader in Egypt that voiced similar concerns. Speaking as an insider, he gives a very different picture to reports in the mainstream media,

I speak with absolute certainty when I say that, for the vast majority of Egyptians, the military are finally doing what the people have been asking—this is not part of a military coup, but rather, a restoration of control to the majority of Egyptian people. Although the huge number of mortalities is both tragic and regrettable, they could have been avoided, had the MB (Muslim Brotherhood) entered into peaceful productive dialogue with the transitional government, as the military so often invited them to over the past 6 weeks.

Another respected Egyptian leader, Ramez Atallah, (General Secretary for The Bible Society of Egypt) confirms what my friend wrote in a letter to me. Atallah says:

Many of us involved in Christian ministry in Egypt are appalled at the misunderstandings about the situation in Egypt being propagated by even normally balanced international media like the BBC, and the way it has, in general, portrayed the Muslim Brotherhood as the victims of injustice...

In November 2012, he [Morsi] illegally gave himself new sweeping powers to act without censure, and rushed through a new pro-Islamic constitution despite the protests and boycotts from liberals, moderate Muslims and Christians, and then he refused to call for new elections - as had previously been agreed to do after a new constitution had been adopted.

We need to see deception and lies for what they really are – traits that resemble the Devil. Jesus accused the Jewish religious leaders of being like their father, the Devil, who is a liar and a murderer. (John 8:31-59, see appendix) Elsewhere I have noted that Christ's rebuke applies not only to hypocritical Jewish religious leaders of his day, it also applies to religious hypocrites in our day. Look, for example, at the near epidemic levels of sectarian violence causing the Ummah to haemhorrage. Even in Ramadan, when the Devil is believed to be bound, and one expects a lower death toll, you find the bloodshed has escalated! Perhaps Satan really is working behind this raging anger.

Two verses – one from the Bible and one from the Qur'an – underscore this point. Ephesians 4:7 says, “anger gives a foothold to the Devil.” Surah 18:50 describes Shaitan as “one of the Jinns, and he broke the command of his Lord. Will ye then take him and his progeny [offspring], as protectors rather than Me? And they are enemies to you! Evil would be the exchange for the wrong-doers!” I have examined this in more detail in, Surah 18:50 & 1 John 3: Distinguishing God's Children from the Devil's.

Although the average Egyptian does not know these verses, the point rings true. In fact, it seems that more and more peace-loving Muslims feel anguish and deep embarrassment at the never-ending atrocities perpetrated in the name of Allah (as well as pervasive deceit). The bloodshed in Egypt and Syria, indeed, across the Muslim world, is causing many Muslims to feel disillusioned and to yearn for real peace.

The people of the book (i.e. Christians and Jews) point to prophecies in the Bible foretelling the coming of Messiah as Prince of Peace. You can read more about this in, Converging Destinies: Jerusalem, Peace and the Messiah.

Following are several other relevant articles you may want to read.

Egyptian Ambassador: 'It Became Necessary to Finish This Thing Today'
Muslim Brotherhood Kills Its Own
Inside Egypt’s Terrorist Camps: Torture, Rape, Mass Murder

Feel free to ask me any questions you may have which are relevant to this article.

All biblical quotations are taken from the New Living Translation.

All Qur'an quotations are taken from Yusuf Ali's translation.

Appendix 1

John 8:31-59

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

“But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.”

“Our father is Abraham!” they declared.

“No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example. Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. No, you are imitating your real father.”

They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.”

Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”

The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?”

“No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father—and you dishonor me. And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God is going to glorify me. He is the true judge. I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!”

The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say, ‘Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’ Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”

Jesus answered, “If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me. You say, ‘He is our God,’ but you don’t even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But I do know him and obey him. Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.”

The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!” At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.

Question for deeper reflection

What is the significance of the title “I AM” which Christ applied to himself? (compare Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 43:13)  Also see The Divine Claims of Jesus: "I AM"