Friday Prayers for Egypt: Deep Wounds

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Deep Wounds

God, When all is not well the wounds can go deep. Continued health demands paying attention. The Muslim Brotherhood has stumbled badly. Tripped deliberately or drunk with power, their wound still feels fresh to many. And the United Arab Emirates throws salt on it by designating them – and allegedly connected organizations – as terrorist … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Allegiances

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Allegiances

God, Two declarations were issued this week, at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. From Sinai, Ansar Bait al-Maqdis pledged to obey the caliph of the Islamic State. From the Chamber of Commerce, a business delegation pledged to recruit other American companies to invest in Egypt. One allegiance is to you, God, the other is … Continue reading

How Can Egyptians Smoke, Looking at This?

How Can Egyptians Smoke, Looking at This?

A recent Ahram Online article quoted from the Egyptian minister of health, stating nearly a quarter of all Egyptians smoke, including 46 percent of adult males. This, he said, is one of the highest rates in the world. But every time one of these Egyptians reaches to take a cigarette, one of these images stares … Continue reading

The Immigration of Roots

Over the past several years, and increasingly over the past several months, Iraq has nearly been emptied of its historical Christian population. This short film by the newspaper al-Badeel explores how Egyptian Christians contemplate the issue of immigration. It is subtitled in English, and provides a very good overview of how many Copts view the … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Military Missions

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Military Missions

God, Bless the Egyptian military in its many responsibilities. They seem to be rapidly increasing. The horrible explosion last week in Sinai killed 31 soldiers, and prompted the government to evacuate the area. A buffer zone is being created on the border of Gaza, with homes demolished and population relocated. The military is undertaking the … Continue reading

The Face of the Former NDP

The Face of the Former NDP

Much has been speculated about the coming Egyptian parliament being dominated by figures who used to belong to the National Democratic Party of former President Hosni Mubarak. Given the favor conveyed to the January 25 activists, this proposition scares many. Perhaps it should. The understanding of the old parliamentary system was that it was a … Continue reading

Where is the Maspero Youth Union Now?

Where is the Maspero Youth Union Now?

Twenty-three Egyptian liberal activists were sentenced to three years in prison for demonstrating against the protest law on Sunday. Amid the ongoing clampdown on dissent, the common observer can sigh, but be forgiven for asking: Whatever happened to those Coptic youth activists? Did that massacre at Maspero all but end their influence? Or like most … Continue reading

Who Will Run Egypt’s Parliament?

Who Will Run Egypt’s Parliament?

Ahram Online recently reported that Egypt’s minister of transitional justice appointed a military official as secretary-general of the parliament, now renamed the House of Representatives. The news surprised me on different levels, most notably in that Egypt does not yet have a parliament. How can it then have a secretary-general? Whatever the position is, shouldn’t … Continue reading

The Story of a Village Church

The Story of a Village Church

From my recent article at Arab West Report: A man named ‘lantern’ finds a buried treasure, and with the money builds a church and extends a priesthood. If only all tales of Coptic Orthodox churches were so adventurous. (Some are.) The village of Qufada, home of the Virgin Mary and St. Abaskhiroun Church, is about … Continue reading

Update from Mhardeh, Syria

In my recent article for Christianity Today, I described one of the strategies Middle Eastern Christians are employing to face the threat from ISIS: Fight. Sometimes, though, talking isn’t enough. This reality has driven Syrian pastor Maan Bitar to urge his congregation to take up arms and fight. His Presbyterian congregation is among the 22,000 … Continue reading

Other Stories from Kurdistan

Other Stories from Kurdistan

The situation for refugees in Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq is dire. I was pleased to be able to convey this perspective in a recent article for Lapido Media, highlighting the relief efforts of a local Cairo church, Kasr el-Dobara. But there are other interesting stories to be told, more than could be honored in a reasonable … Continue reading

Do Egyptians Support ISIS? How about the Brotherhood?

Estimates say the number of Egyptian recruits in ISIS equal 8,000, perhaps 20-30 percent of their fighting force. A report indicates ISIS is in direct communication with Sinai-based terrorist groups to train in creating cells to attack security personnel. But while some say the ISIS mentality is present among Egyptians, especially in Upper Egypt, there … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Open, Closed, and Outlawed

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Open, Closed, and Outlawed

God, After a long delay, Egypt’s universities opened again, and with it a renewal of student protests. After a long tenure, the Carter Center closed its Egypt operations, claiming the nation was unlikely to move toward democratic governance. And after a long tolerance, the government formally outlawed the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, the mostly … Continue reading