A Road Map to Democracy for Egypt?

7/4/2013 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) continues to follow the developing situation in Egypt as Mohamed Morsi has been removed from office and an interim government has been put in place to meet the demands of the millions of Egyptians who had called for his departure from office. The head of the Egyptian Armed Forces, along with leaders from Egypt’s religious communities and opposition groups delivered a statement Wednesday night that effectively brought an end to the one-year rule of Mohamed Morsi and laid out what has been called a “road map” for the future.

Gen. Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi, commander of the Armed Forces, delivered a televised address to the nation declaring that President Morsi had “failed to meet the demands of the Egyptian people.” He went on to say that Egypt’s religious and civilian leaders “have agreed on a road map for the future that includes initial steps to achieve the building of a strong Egyptian society that is cohesive and does not exclude anyone, and ends the state of tension and division,” the LA Times reports. The statement was greeted with roars of celebration by the millions of Egyptians who had been demonstrating in the streets since the large-scale protests began on June 30. An ICC contact who had been on the streets of Cairo since the protests began said: “Nothing can explain the happiness in Egypt. Everyone is celebrating now!

The statement from General El-Sisi received support from two of Egypt’s leading religious officials. Pope Tawadros II, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, made a statement offering his support for the plan and saying that it offers a political vision and ensures the security for all Egyptians, including the nearly 10 percent who are Christian. Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar University, also offered his support and called for the political leaders to pursue reconciliation and listen to the “voice of the people,” according to Reuters. Hal Meawad, spokesman for Coptic Solidarity, told ICC “it was a positive step for Tawadros and al-Tayeb to join together. Together they can have a good and strong influence on the political scene.” Leadership is crucial during this period of transition. “There is a leadership vacuum,” Meawad continued, Egypt “is very capable of filling the vacuum with able leaders but, however, the danger and risk of some clown(s) hijacking the role is there.

For the immediate future Adli Mansour is tasked as the interim president of Egypt, the most populous Arab nation. The recently appointed head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, described by CNN as an independent, is tasked with drafting a new constitution and attempting to bring together Egypt’s divided political landscape into a cohesive and strong government. Many world leaders weighed in on the situation, most respecting the will of the people that led  to the ousting of Mohamed Morsi but urging the interim government and the military to quickly restore democratic civilian rule to the country.

One of the early tests for Mansour and the interim government will be the treatment of Morsi and the other leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and Islamist parties. Since Morsi’s removal from office clashes have taken place that have claimed the lives of at least 16 people and many more were wounded. Morsi has been detained, and a number of Muslim Brotherhood leaders have been arrested or had warrants issued for their arrest, Reuters reports. Another test will be to maintain security for the minority communities from potential acts of retaliation. Moheb, a Christian writing from Cairo, told ICC “we don’t know yet how will it be reflected on the church. We may find more freedom or maybe it will get worse as the MB started to act violently against the Egyptians in general and the Christians especially. What we really need to pray for is the protection for the church and for the country.”

Todd Daniels, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “ICC stands by the people of Egypt in their efforts to establish a political and social order that protects the rights and freedoms of all citizens. We urge the interim government of Egypt to swiftly implement institutions standards, and safeguards that will enable the Egyptian people to govern themselves in such a way that all voices are heard and represented in government and that will lead to the economic and societal flourishing of the Egyptian people.

For interviews, contact Todd Daniels, Regional Manager for the Middle East: RM-ME@persecution.org

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