Bishop Mouneer reflects on Egypt's New President

Posted by Roger Cooke on Thu, 28 Jun 2012 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Over the past week, many of you will have been following events in Egypt, where the country’s first Islamist President was elected just days after the ruling military council dissolved parliament. These are momentous, if uncertain, times for Egypt and for the many Christians who live and worship there. CMS Ireland partners with the Diocese of Egypt and in the last week, we have received two updates from Bishop Mouneer. The following extracts reflect something of his own thoughts about the new president.

24th June Update

The majority of Egyptians have been holding their breath over the last few days. They were eagerly awaiting the announcement of the first president after the 25th of January Revolution. It was announced this afternoon, the 24th of June, that Mohammed Mursi won 51.7 percent of the votes, while his opponent Ahmed Shafiq won 48.3 percent. By this close margin, Mursi became the first Islamist President in Egypt.

Mursi promised to be a president for all Egyptians, to appoint a prime minister who is not from the Muslim Brotherhood, and moreover he promised to appoint a Christian vice-president. He made these promises to calm the widespread anxiety of the moderate Muslims and the Christians, who were hoping for a secular government.

The fear now is that Mursi will not fulfill his promises, and will try to control the government, the police and the upcoming parliamentary elections. If Egypt became an Islamic state, this will mean that Christians will be marginalized. It is true that today he withdrew from the Muslim Brotherhood Party; however he will continue to be influenced by their ideology. Some writers express their fears that if the Muslim Brotherhood gained control of Egypt, they will stay in power for more than 100 years.

We as a church accept the results of the election. We are committed to praying for Mursi, and we hope that he will fulfill his promises. We will continue to speak out if there is any deviation in our democratic journey.

We trust in God and His promises in the middle of this uncertainty and anxiety. He promised that the gates of Hades will never overcome His church. Please pray for our beloved country Egypt.

May the Lord bless you!

+ Mouneer Egypt

28th June Update

Yesterday I received a phone call from the Presidential Palace asking me to meet with the new President of Egypt, Dr. Mohammed Mursi. The President also invited the heads of other the Christian denominations for the meeting.

We were received with a warm welcome from the President. Each one of us gave congratulations to the President and he assured us that Christians are equal citizens in Egypt and it is his duty to make sure that every citizen receives his or her rights. The President also told us stories from the history of Islam of how Muslim leaders were very keen to ensure the right of citizenship of all Christians in Egypt.

I assured the President of our prayers for him and also asked him to make the topic of ‘National Unity’ a priority. By ‘National Unity’ I mean, of course, equality between Christians and Muslims and applying the rule of law on all citizens. He immediately responded that there were attempts to disrupt this National Unity in the past and create a strained relation between Christians and Muslims. He promised to do his best to ensure the rights of Christians, especially in regard to building churches.

I also asked the President to consider attending one of the meetings of “Beit el Aila” the House of the Family, which is an initiative of the Grand Imam to bring Christian and Muslims leaders together to discuss ways to enhance the religious harmony. He immediately agreed to host one of these meetings. I shared this news with the Grand Imam who was happy to hear that the President will give a serious attention to “Beit el Aila.”

I came out of the thirty-five minute meeting very encouraged. I must say that this initiative of the President carries in itself the desire to assure Christians that he will be the President of all Egyptians.

We will continue to pray for him and for our beloved country Egypt.

May the Lord bless you!

Yours in Christ,

+ Mouneer Egypt

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