Reports are emerging from Egypt that at least 535 people have died, while thousands are injured in the fight now raging between the military government and supporters of the ousted President Muhammed Morsi. Other estimates put the number of dead well above 2,000 among conflicting reports. Armed men in civilian clothes have been seen on the streets of Cairo shooting at pro-Morsi protesters. Supporters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood have burned more than 40 Christian churches in the last two days. Christians report that at least one priest has been killed. Christians are living in fear for their lives in the Muslim-majority country. Christian leaders, including Pope Francis, have called for calm and reconciliation.
SAT-7, a Christian satellite television service - is broacasting from Egypt and is bringing a firsthand view of the unethical practices of the Morsi presidency and its sham of “democracy,” according to a statement.
In his June 2012 election, Morsi received only 13 million votes from the Egyptian population of 83 million, according to Terence Ascott, CEO and founder of SAT-7 International. Morsi filled key government positions with former Muslim Brotherhood leaders, some of whom had previous convictions for violence or incitement to violence, and rushed through a pro-Islamic constitution despite protests and boycotts from liberals, moderate Muslims and Christians, said Ascott. Morsi refused to call for new elections, as he had previously agreed to do after a new constitution had been adopted.
A faltering economy, coupled with crumbling infrastructure and inflation, brought people out on the streets again. On the first anniversary of his election, more than 30 million people protested. The army responded by removing him from office. Following an ensuing six weeks of pro-Morsi occupation of public squares, demanding his reinstatement, blocking all traffic and promising retribution against the army, police, liberals and specifically Coptic Christians, deadly violence broke out August 14 as the army moved in to disburse them.
“The Muslim Brotherhood has been very effective with the Western media, portraying themselves as ‘victims’ and the army as a coup,” said Ascott. “This is not the version of the truth that resonates with the vast majority of Egyptians.” Egypt's military has vowed to rebuild the churches destroyed by Muslim fanatics.
Scores of business, homes, police stations, hospitals and other public buildings have been destroyed by Morsi supporters. Some forty churches, a monastery, three religious societies, three key Bible Society bookshops, three Christian schools and an orphanage have been burned or otherwise destroyed.
“Following [Coptic Orthodox] Pope Tawadros II’s statement that the current attacks on churches were expected, many Christians are stating that they consider the church buildings a sacrifice to their beloved Egypt,” said Farid Garas, SAT-7’s Egypt executive director.
Some Muslims who rushed to help preserve churches and Christian properties were urged by Christians to return home. “Buildings can be rebuilt, but you are priceless, so stay safe,” they reportedly said. “Buildings are not the church. The Body of Christ is the church, and we are firmly intact.”
General Sisi, commander-in-chief of Egyptian armed forces and Minister of Defense, subsequently announced the army will pay for renovating all the damaged churches.
SAT-7’s staff in Cairo has worked from home, and all are reported safe. According to Garas, they plan to broadcast their Saturday current affairs program “Bridges” as usual on August 17. They plan to cover the attacks on churches and the decision of Christian leaders to refuse outside protection, showing that the church is standing for freedom over force. “It seems we are experiencing a pruning process of the living body of Egypt,” said Garas.” It hurts, but it is important. We are sure we will see the fruit of freedom, and we trust the Creator who is in control.”