Egypt is braced for further dramatic events on Friday as the vanquished Muslim Brotherhood called for a "day of rejection" following a widespread crackdown on its leadership by the country's new interim president, Adly Mansour.
Egyptian security forces arrested the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood on Thursday, security sources said, in a crackdown against the Islamist movement after the army ousted the country's first democratically elected president.
The dramatic exit of President Mohamed Mursi was greeted with delight by millions of jubilant people on the streets of Cairo and other cities overnight, but there was simmering resentment among Egyptians who opposed military intervention.
An Islamist coalition led by the Brotherhood called on people across the nation to protest in a "Friday of Rejection" following weekly prayers, an early test of Mursi's ongoing support and how the military will deal with it.
Perhaps aware of the risk of society being polarized, the new interim leader, judge Adli Mansour, used his inauguration to hold out an olive branch to the Brotherhood, Mursi's power base.
"The Muslim Brotherhood are part of this people and are invited to participate in building the nation as nobody will be excluded, and if they respond to the invitation, they will be welcomed," he said.
Just before he spoke, the air force staged a series of fly pasts in the smoggy skies over Cairo, a stark reminder of the military's role in the latest upheaval. The stunt, involving dozens of aircraft, was repeated at dusk.
As if there is not enough drama in the epicenter already, a military coup d’état occurred overnight in Egypt. Mohamed Morsi is no longer the president after . Morsi and other top Muslim Brotherhood leaders have been arrested. The Brotherhood’s TV station was seized by the army. Other Brotherhood leaders have been put on watch lists and told they may not leave the country. The country’s new Sharia law-focused constitution has also been suspended.
Now all eyes are on Adly Mansour, the 67 year old judge, the interim president,appointed by the Egyptian army. Mansour is expected to oversee the drafting of a new electoral law, and oversee new elections, though it is not yet clear when those elections will be. A new constitution will also be drafted. More on Mansour in a moment.
First, let me say that I am grateful Morsi has been removed and the Brotherhood has been neutralized, at least for the moment. Generally, I don’t support military coups. But in this case I believe Morsi posed a grave threat to the people of Egypt, and to Israel, and the U.S. and the West generally. He needed to be removed and I have been praying for this ever since he rose to power. According to Bible prophecy — notably — the Egyptians have very dark days ahead of them. But as long as possible, I so want them to experience spiritual and personal freedom and for the Church to be free to preach the Gospel and demonstrate the love of Christ and the power of the Word to a nation in so much pain.
Second, this coup represents another dramatic chapter in the battle between the Radicals and the Reformers in the Muslim world. The Egyptian people launched a revolution against Hosni Mubarak in 2011 because they wanted real reform and he was resisting true democracy and personal freedom.
But Morsi and the Radicals of the Muslim Brotherhood hijacked that revolution and turned into an opportunity for them to dominate and oppress Egypt. Now the Reformers are pushing back. It’s been stunning to see 22 million people — 1 in 4 Egyptians — sign a petition to get rid of the Radicals. The Egyptian army’s leadership are not Jeffersonian democratic reformers, to be sure. But they have long opposed the Radicals and they could see the popular handwriting on the wall. The army signaled last December it would not allow Egypt to enter a of Radical Islamic extremism and economic collapse. Yet that is precisely where Morsi and the Brotherhood were heading.
The Islamic world is going through historic convulsions. The Radicals (like Morsi and the Brotherhood) are trying to overthrow the Resisters and return the region to a “pure” version of fundamentalist Islam based on Sharia law. They believe “Islam is the answer and jihad is the way.” Ultimately, they want to create a global Caliphate where all people in every country are living under Islamic rule. The Reformers, on the other hand, believe “Islam is the answer, but jihad is not they way.” They are pushing back at the Radicals. They are Muslims, but they don’t want Sharia law. They don’t believe in waging jihad. To the contrary, they want more freedom, more openness, and even democracy. Then there are the Revivalists. They believe “Islam is not the answer, jihad is not the way; Jesus is the way.” What’s more, they believe that “the only way for our part of the world to move forward is to skip back in our history before Islam and revive what we once had — first century, New Testament, Biblical Christianity.” They are Muslims who are renouncing Islam and becoming true and fully devoted disciples of Jesus Christ. We need to be praying for these Revivalists to be strong and bold in their testimony for Jesus and their proclamation of the Word of God.
. The Radicals might counterstrike. The Muslim Brotherhood — a Radical Islamic jihadist organization — is furious about what has happened. It has been trying to seize power in Egypt since the 1920s. It may not take the coup lying down and it could unleash waves of brazen violence. Isaiah 19 indicates a tragic civil war is in Egypt’s future in the last days. Let us pray that we have not yet arrived to that point. Let us pray for peace and stability and calm in this important country of more than 80 million people.