7/1/2013 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) continues to follow the situation as record numbers of Egyptians protest against Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). In a stunning development, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi—head of the Egyptian military—issued a statement just a few hours ago (Monday evening, July 1) giving Morsi 48 hours to respond to the demands of the people before the armed forces intervene.
“The wording of the statement requests all parties to respond positively to the demands of the masses. The number one demand is for Morsi to leave,” Hal Meawad, human rights activist and spokesman for Coptic Solidarity told ICC. The statement from General al-Sisi came after the June 30 protests which represented an “unprecedented expression of popular anger at Mr. Morsi and his Islamist backers in the Brotherhood during his first year in power,” according to the New York Times.
Describing Sunday’s (June 30) protests, ICC contact Wagih Yacoub said: “It’s amazing. . .an historic day! Over 17 million (people) were in the square in Cairo and throughout Egypt. They were protesting the MB’s rule. The MB is falling apart. This is the result of their ruling for one year. They have to go.” The Interior Ministry also reported the number of protests at nearly 17 million according to Al-Jazeera.
The protesters represent people from all segments of Egyptian society, including liberal Secularists, moderate Muslims, and Egypt’s Christian community. “Yesterday we were all Egyptians. You can’t say who’s Christian and who’s Muslim, we were one hand against the regime,” said an ICC representative in Cairo.
“Now, some of the MB members and their supporters play on the sectarianism; they try to say that the Christians want to destroy Islam and the Islam state project by taking [out Morsi],” a Cairo-based journalist Yasser Khalil told ICC. “While such sectarian incitement works very well in low educated levels and rural areas, mostly, it doesn’t work in cities and [with] well-educated Egyptians,” Khalil continued.
Ahram reports, as of Monday, the Egyptian Health Ministry has recorded 16 deaths and nearly 800 injuries. These occurred all throughout the country, with eight of the deaths occurring outside of the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo when those inside the building allegedly shot protestors outside. Yacoub confirmed the report for ICC saying: “people were protesting outside, we have the right to protest and they shot them.” A coalition of 21 human rights organizations have pledged to monitor and document abuses during the protests recognizing the right of protestors to engage in non-violent protests.
The recently formed 30 June Front, representing the protestors, is pursuing a path of civil disobedience to force President Morsi out of office. An ICC source on the streets in Cairo indicated this when he said “tomorrow we will be back to the streets and start the civil disobedience.” Already, four ministers and five MPs have stepped down, along with eight members of the Islamist-dominated Shura council, as a result of the mounting pressure.
The Tamarod, or “Rebel,” group which reportedly collected more than 22 million signatures of those opposed to Morsi, has issued an ultimatum calling for President Morsi to step down before 5:00 pm Tuesday, July 2nd—threatening to organize a civil disobedience campaign if he does not. “This date [July 2nd at 5:00 pm] can be considered the beginning of a general civil disobedience for the sake of implementing the will of the Egyptian people,” Tamarod said in a statement published on its website.
ICC’s President, Jeff King, said:
Current events in Egypt are simply stunning. After the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and their puppet, Morsi, hijacked the ‘Arab Spring,’ a truly democratic second revolution is unfolding. A coalition of secularists, moderate Muslims, and Christians has risen up and said ‘no more’ to the Islamists’ culture of abuse and economic mismanagement. ICC strongly supports this coalition of secularists, moderate Muslims, and Christians in their admirable quest for true democracy and economic progress.
The really stunning thing in this historic second attempt at democracy, though, is the relative silence of the US government. They are now seen in Egypt as the accomplices of the MB and contempt for the US government is rising by the day. ICC urges all those interested to contact your state representatives, the White House, and the Egyptian embassy to voice your support for the real democracy movement in Egypt.
To raise your voice, contact:
Egyptian Embassy (DC): (202) 895-5400
White House: (202) 456-1111
For interviews, contact:
Jeff King, ICC President at (800) 422-5441
Todd Daniels, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East at RM-Me@persecution.org
You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address, www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-ICC (422)-5441.