Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why I am praying for Egypt

I pray often for Egypt. But I realize most don't share my concerns about the elections and the gravity of the situation. Compared to Egypt, politics in Malaysia is pretty mild ....
So here's a few articles and links

One from Raymond Ibrahim and the other from Barnabas Fund

Graphic Video: Muslims Slaughter Convert to Christianity in Tunisia

by Raymond Ibrahim
Originally published by the Gatestone Institute
June 4, 2012
Liberal talk show host Tawfiq Okasha recently appeared on "Egypt Today" airing a video of Muslims in Tunisia slicing a young man's head off for the crime of apostasy, in this case, the crime of converting to Christianity and refusing to renounce it. The video—be warned, it is immensely graphic—is on the left (the actual execution appears from minute 1:13-4:00). For those who prefer not to view it, a summary follows:
A young man appears held down by masked men. His head is pulled back, with a knife to his throat. He does not struggle and appears resigned to his fate. Speaking in Arabic, the background speaker, or "narrator," chants a number of Muslim prayers and supplications, mostly condemning Christianity, which, because of the Trinity, is referred to as a polytheistic faith: "Let Allah be avenged on the polytheist apostate"; "Allah empower your religion, make it victorious against the polytheists"; "Allah, defeat the infidels at the hands of the Muslims"; "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger."

Then, to cries of "Allahu Akbar!"—or, "God is great!"—the man holding the knife to the apostate's throat begins to slice away, even as the victim appears calmly mouthing a prayer. It takes nearly two minutes of graphic knife-carving to sever the Christian's head, which is then held aloft to more Islamic cries and slogans of victory.
Visibly distraught, Tawfiq Okasha, the host, asked: "Is this Islam? Does Islam call for this? How is Islam related to this matter?...These are the images that are disseminated throughout the electronic media in Europe and America…. Can you imagine?" Then, in reference to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis, whose political influence has grown tremendously, he asked, "How are such people supposed to govern?"
In fact, only the other day a top Egyptian Salafi leader openly stated that no Muslim has the right to apostatize, or leave Islam, based on the canonical hadiths, including Muhammad's command, "Whoever leaves his religion, kill him." Islam's most authoritative legal manuals make crystal clear that apostasy is a capital crime, punishable by death.
The first "righteous caliph," a paragon of Muslim piety and virtue, had tens of thousands of people slaughtered—including by burning, beheading, and crucifixion—simply because they tried to break away from Islam. According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the most authoritative reference work on Islam in the English language, "there is unanimity that the male apostate must be put to death."
Finally, a word on the "prayers" or supplications to Allah made by the Muslim executioners in the video: these are standard and formulaic. It is not just masked, anonymous butchers who supplicate Allah as they engage in acts of evil; rather, top-ranking Muslim leaders openly invoke such hate-filled prayers.
See here for examples of prominent Muslims supplicating Allah to strike infidels with cancer and disease "till they pray for death and do not receive it," and even formalized prayers in Mecca, blasted on megaphones as Muslims pilgrimage and circumambulate the Ka'ba, supplicating Allah to make the lives of Christians and Jews "hostage to misery; drape them with endless despair, unrelenting pain and unremitting ailment; fill their lives with sorrow and pain and end their lives in humiliation and oppression."
"Is this Islam?" You decide.
UpdateClick here for my response to those who question the significance of this video.



Christians in Egypt fear an Islamist victory in the impending presidential elections as the Muslim Brotherhood candidate vows to implement sharia and polls show support for this agenda.  
The Brotherhood, which has previously presented itself as a moderate Islamist party, is now taking a more overtly Islamic stance. Their candidate, Mohamed Mursi, has vowed to apply sharia if elected as president. He said:
We will not accept any alternative to sharia… The Quran is our constitution and it will always be so.
Mursi has gained the backing of a prominent hard-line cleric and TV preacher, Safwat Hegazy, who compared him to the medieval Muslim leader Salah Al-Din, who united the Muslim world, defeated the crusaders and captured Jerusalem. Hegazy said at a campaign rally:
We are seeing the dream of the Islamic Caliphate coming true at the hands of Mohammed Mursi… The people want to implement god’s law.
Abdeen Palace,
office of the President of Egypt
Néfermaât / CC BY-SA 2.5
A poll conducted by the Pew Research Centre, which interviewed a representative sample of 1,000 Egyptians between 19 March and 10 April on their political views, revealed strong support for this agenda.
Six in ten want Egyptian laws to follow the Quran strictly, while around a third want them to conform to Islamic principles but not strictly follow the Muslim holy book.
When asked whether Turkey or Saudi Arabia was the better model for the role of religion in government, 61% said the latter, where an extreme and puritanical version of Islam, Wahhabism, is strictly enforced. 
The Muslim Brotherhood was given a favourable rating by 70% of the interviewees, five per cent down on last year, with the Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party receiving the highest rating of the political parties, with over half (56%) expressing a positive opinion of them.
The presidential race is however by no means a foregone conclusion. Former foreign minister and Arab League chief Amr Moussa is among the frontrunners; the Pew research found him to be overwhelmingly popular, with an 81% approval rating.
Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh also fared well, with 58%. Surprisingly, given his more moderate Islamist stance, Abul Fotouh has won the backing of some hard-line Salafists. He was expelled from the Muslim Brotherhood after the revolution because of his insistence that he would run for president.  
The group had initially said that it would not field a presidential candidate but recently changed its position on this. After taking the greatest number of seats in the parliamentary elections, it has found itself largely powerless in the face of the ruling military’s control. The Brotherhood feels it has a right to rule.


The presidential race poses a great dilemma for the country’s Christians, who have to choose between one of the Islamist candidates and former members of the Mubarak regime. Despite suffering discrimination and persecution under the latter, most would prefer to see one of its contenders win.
George Gamal, a 50-year-old Christian from Imbaba – the scene of a deadly Islamist attackon Christians a year ago – said:
If religion is mixed with politics, this country will be destroyed. It will be an Islamic emirate.
Christians have increasingly been the victims of violent attack since the fall of Mubarak and rise of Islamists within the political sphere. They fear that the country could become a strict Islamic state where their sizeable community of around 8 million people would not be welcome.
Marina Nadi, a Christian business administration student, said that she will not be voting for an Islamist candidate:
The Islamist-dominated parliament has done nothing to allay the Christians’ fears about their future in this country.
Many Christians are backing Moussa, who has advocated a separation of religion and state, while others prefer Ahmed Shafiq, who was Mubarak’s last premier.
Some say that they could live with an Abul Fotouh victory. He has expressed support for a law that would not require official permission for the building of churches or mosques – a matter over which Christians have experienced much discrimination and opposition – and also said that Christians and women should be allowed to run for president.    
The Pew research found that a growing number of Egyptians believe that Islam is playing a major role in the political life of the country: 66% compared with 47% two years ago. And while most interviewees believe that Islam is playing a positive role in the country’s politics, those who say its role is negative has increased significantly, from just two per cent in 2010 to 25% today. 

The presidential elections, which begin on 23 May, will be a further – perhaps decisive – indicator of the extent of the role that Islam will play in Egypt’s future..

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