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

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

Ancient Egyptian Church Renovated

Ancient Egyptian Church Renovated

It is often said of Egypt that it is impossible to build or repair a church without presidential permission, even simply to fix a toilet or change a light bulb. There are historical reasons for this statement and contemporary examples of the difficulty. But this article in Ahram Online celebrates the full reopening of the … Continue reading

Poverty and Politics in Ezbat al-Haggana

Poverty and Politics in Ezbat al-Haggana

As Egypt considers its coming parliament, discussed among pundits and politicians alike, actual voting power lies far off the beaten track in slums such as Ezbat al-Haggana. Nagwa Raouf, founder of the House of Blessing local charity, says two million people live there. “We have told the people, ‘Do not sell your vote, it is … Continue reading

Why Does Egypt Suffer Power Cuts?

Why Does Egypt Suffer Power Cuts?

Even into late September Cairo temperatures reached 100 degrees. Statistics show that 40 percent of energy demand comes from home consumption, and increased air conditioner use contributed to overloading the system. The one complaint about a recent article at the Middle East Institute on the energy crisis is that it does not describe the ‘how’ … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Eid Threats

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Eid Threats

God, The streets are quiet as Egyptian Muslims remember the sacrifice of Abraham. They slaughter a sheep, celebrate with family, and have three or four days to relax and enjoy. Throughout the country there is calm, though some are trying to disrupt it. Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, the foremost terrorist group operating out of the Sinai, … Continue reading

The Case against Qatar

The Case against Qatar

A recent Foreign Policy investigative report details Qatari foreign policy. It describes a strategy of intervention-by-proxy, which keeps its hands clean officially while funneling money to groups it deems ideologically similar, that is, those they can trust. Primarily, this has been the Muslim Brotherhood and various activist Salafi factions. The article is long but worthy, … Continue reading

They Really Do Hate Us … at Least on Twitter

From AhramOnline, on research analyzing Twitter: In the case of Egypt, the researchers analyzed more than 2.2 million Arabic tweets that mentioned the United States and found just three percent could be termed pro-American, with 23 percent neutral and the majority critical of the United States. Ok, so they hate our foreign policy – no … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Narratives

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Narratives

God, In all that happened this week in Egypt, the impression is not nearly as strong as that received from summer catch-up. First I read the news, largely from Egyptian sources. One could not be happier for the progress in the country. But then I read the analysis, largely from Western sources. One could not … Continue reading