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The Word on the Week

Pharaoh Falls

With the imprisonment of Mohamed Morsi and the decimation of his well organised Muslim Brotherhood followers, went their vision of a caliphate extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. Just how near they came to pulling it off we will never know. The military stepped in and with an equal and opposite efficiency set about dismantling the fundamentalists’ structure created by the Brotherhood in the space of the one year of Morsi’s rule.

Of course there was a considerable backlash. The crackdown on the Brotherhood sit-ins was carried out by the police commandos while the army was used to hold strategic positions on roads and bridges. Considering the religious overtone of martyrdom among the Brotherhood there was always going to be bloodshed. The ensuing slaughter, coupled with the appearance of a thwarted democracy in President Morsi’s imprisonment, captured the media’s attention in the West and sparked some pro-brotherhood protests.

However it seems that the majority of the Egyptian population in giving their support to the army were indicating that they did not wish to have another Pharaoh (Morsi had assumed sweeping executive powers) to reign over them.

Internationally the backing of the army by the US continues and the Arab states of Saudi, Kuwait and the UAE have also lent their support. What started 12 months ago, under the guise of a democracy, but rapidly descended into the makings of an Islamic State has had it demise approved by these wealthy neighbours.

Of paramount importance is Egypt’s stability. This is key to the stability of a region which seems bent on instability in whichever direction you look.

The Bible speaks of a close relationship between Egypt and Israel. At times they were enemies and at other times Egypt was a place of refuge. The infant Jesus fled there with his parents until Herod’s death when it became safe to return. This was prophesied by Hosea and recorded in St Matthew’s Gospel Chapter 3 verse 15 “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Sadly to this day Islam does not recognise Jesus as the Son of God who, as St Paul said “loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians Chapter 2 verse 20). Instead it believes that Judas was crucified and Jesus did not atone for anyone’s sins although the Koran believes He was taken bodily into heaven without having died (Surah 4:157)

Among the 99 names Islam associates with Allah are the compassionate and the merciful but there is no equivalent for love. Allah is impersonal and unknowable.

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing Christians today is to maintain a witness to the love of God in the face of conflict. As Jesus said in a difficult situation “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (St Matthew Chapter 10 verse 16).