Top Egyptian official heads south to defuse Islamist-led strike over Christian governor
- Article by: SARAH EL DEEB , Associated Press
- Updated: April 18, 2011 – 4:51 PM
CAIRO – Protesters led by hardline Islamists in southern Egypt held their ground Monday, saying they won’t end their campaign of civil disobedience until the government removes a newly appointed Coptic Christian governor.
The protesters, many from the ultraconservative Salafi trend of Islam, have been sitting on train tracks, taken over government buildings and blocked main roads in the southern city of Qena, insisting the new governor won’t properly implement Islamic law.
Attempts by the newly appointed interior minister, who hails from the same area, to defuse the crisis were rebuffed and protesters insisted their sit-in, which began Friday, would continue.
Since the Feb. 11 ousting of President Hosni Mubarak in popular protests, Islamist groups have have been flexing their muscles and are vowing to take a more active political role as Egypt is still drawing its transition to democracy.
The prominent role of these ultraconservative Islamic movements, which were once politically quiescent, has worried many, including the secular activists and youth groups that were the driving force behind the uprising.
Egypt’s Coptic minority, which makes up about 10 percent of the country’s 82 million population and have long complained of discrimination in the country, have also been deeply unsettled by the developement.
The new governor’s predecessor was actually a Christian and a former police general as well, but he was appointed by Mubarak and was much reviled for his incompetence, security background, and close ties to the regime, enabling the Salafis to draw on local dissatisfaction in their current campaign.
“They started out by camping at the local government’s office. Then they set up a tent on the railroad tracks,” said local resident Wafy Nasr. “They also tried to block the road and stopped buses to separate men and women passengers.”
He said tensions were so high that the local Christian residents had to stay inside and couldn’t go to church to celebrate Palm Sunday.
A video posted on the YouTube website showed a speaker telling a crowd at the government office: “This won’t work. A Copt won’t implement Islamic law.” According to the constitution, Islamic law is supposed to be the primary source of legislation in the country.
The civil disobedience campaign prompted Egypt’s top security official, Interior Minister Mansour el-Eissawi, to visit Qena to try to defuse the situation, but he wasn’t able to sway the protesters.
“When there is a decision to change the governor to a civilian Muslim, we will end the strike and life will return to normal,” said Sheik Qureishi Salama, the imam of the local mosque, questioning why their impoverished province kept getting Christian governors.
“Why is Qena becoming a testing ground for Christians?” he asked. “We aren’t guinea pigs.”
Diaa Rashwan, an expert on Islamic groups and a native of Qena, said for the majority of residents, the problem with the new appointment was that it continued the trend of installing former police generals as governors.
“The Salafis mobilized many people, many of them religious by nature,” he said.
The fall of Mubarak and the opening of the political system has prompted an explosion of political activity in Egypt.
The country’s most organized political opposition group, the long-banned Muslim Brotherhood, has also become more vocal about its plans, drawing on its large network of social groups and followers, which it had for long to operate under strict security oversight from the Mubarak regime.
A senior group leader caused an uproar after he was quoted in local papers as saying his group seeks to establish an Islamic state, imposing Islamic punishments — including amputating hands for theft.
“We can’t sleep anymore, so we give room for this religion to thrive in Egypt. Don’t let us waste this opportunity,” Saad al-Husseini, a Brotherhood leader, said, according to the daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.
Associated Press reporter Haggag Salam, in Luxor, Egypt contributed to this report.
Riots erupt after Nigerian leader wins presidential poll
The incumbent Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has won a large enough share of votes across the country’s 36 states to avoid an election run-off.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan won the oil-rich country’s presidential election, as severe rioting sweeping across the Muslim north demonstrated the religious and ethnic tensions still dividing Africa’s most populous nation.
The violence cut across 13 states, leaving behind burning buildings, neighbours hiding in their homes and hundreds injured. Heavy gunfire echoed through cities, as shouting crowds burned tires and threw stones at security forces. Many were feared dead, though federal officials declined to offer any figures for fear of further stoking tensions.
While Christians and Muslims have shared the same soil in the nation for centuries, the election result showing the Christian president’s more than 10 million vote lead over Muslim candidate Muhammadu Buhari stoked popular resentment. It also spread accusations of rigging in a nation long accustomed to ballot box stuffing and violence.
“The damage is immense. A lot of buildings have been torched: houses, businesses and religious centers,” said Umar Mairiga of the Nigerian Red Cross. Mairiga said the Red Cross estimated more than 270 people had been wounded and another 15,000 had been displaced by the violence.
Nigeria has a long history of violent and rigged polls since it abandoned a revolving door of military rulers and embraced democracy 12 years ago. Legislative elections earlier this month left a hotel ablaze, a politician dead and a polling station and a vote-counting center bombed in the nation’s northeast. However, observers largely said Saturday’s presidential election appeared to be fair, with fewer cases of ballot box thefts than previous polls.
Election chairman Attahiru Jega announced results Monday night that showed Jonathan won 22.4 million votes, compared to the 12.2 million votes of his nearest rival, the former military ruler Buhari. Jonathan also received enough votes across Nigeria’s 36 states and capital to avoid triggering a runoff.
“I want to ensure you we have discharged our responsibility to the best of our ability on a nonpartisan, impartial basis and we have done our best to satisfy the aspirations of Nigerians for free, fair and credible elections,” Jega said.
The West African nation of 150 million people is divided between a Christian-dominated south and the Muslim north.
A dozen states across Nigeria’s north have Islamic Shariah law in place, though they remain under the control of secular state governments. Thousands have been killed in religious violence in the past decade, but the roots of the sectarian conflict are often embedded in struggles for political and economic dominance.
Buhari carried northern states where poverty remains endemic and opportunities few. Many there supported Buhari, a disciplinarian who took power after a 1983 New Year’s Eve coup, as his campaign promised change in a nation ruled by the same ruling political party since it became a democracy.
Buhari’s party brought a formal complaint against the nation’s electoral commission even before the vote count ended, alleging massive rigging in Jonathan’s homeland of the Niger Delta. The letter also alleged that the computer software used to tally results had been tampered with in northern states to favor the ruling People’s Democratic Party.
“What is being exhibited to the world is not collated from polling units but … a lot of manipulations,” the letter read.
Both Buhari’s party and the opposition party Action Congress of Nigeria refused to sign off on the results.
Violence began Sunday in the north, but took full hold Monday morning. Witnesses said youths in the northern city of Kano set fires to homes that bore Jonathan party banners. Heavy gunfire also could be heard. An Associated Press reporter there saw hundreds of youths carrying wooden planks in the street, shouting “Only Buhari” in the local Hausa language.
“What I am looking for now is rescue, the mob is still outside. I need rescue,” said Mark Asu-Obi, who was trapped inside his Kano home with his wife and three children. “There are hoodlums all over the place. It’s not just my place that they are attacking. I am not a politician. I am an independent observer.”
In Kaduna, home to the oil-rich nation’s vice president, angry young men burned tires in the streets and threw stones at police and soldiers trying to restore order, witnesses said. Police reported a prison break in neighboring Katsina state engineered by an angry mob. Youths targeted ruling party officials in Bauchi state as well.
“All of you came out in the sun and elected the person after your heart, I thank you for doing that but let us remain peaceful in all our conducts so that we will not be plunged into a crisis situation in the state,” Bauchi state Gov. Isa Yuguda said in a statewide radio and television broadcast.
The state-run Nigerian Television Authority did not mention the attacks on air, though it finally ran a scrolling graphic across the screen with a statement from Jonathan calling for peace just before Jega announced the results.
“We must not allow for the loss of any life and as I have always said, no one’s political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian,” Jonathan’s statement read.
The violence did not affect Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta, where foreign companies pump more than two million barrels of crude a day out of a country crucial to US gasoline supplies. A statement attributed to former militant leaders there warned they would defend Jonathan’s mandate “with the last drop of our blood.” The statement said leaders also ordered fighters to return to the delta’s winding muddy creeks to await instructions.
Jonathan came to power after the May 2010 death of Nigeria’s long-ill elected leader, President Umaru Yar’Adua. Still, many in Nigeria’s Muslim north remain uneasy about Jonathan, a Christian from the country’s south. The north’s elite political class wanted the ruling party to honor an unwritten power-sharing agreement that would have placed another northern candidate into the presidency.
Jonathan ultimately prevailed in a ruling party primary as whispers spread about large cash payments to delegates. Since he became president, Jonathan’s government has spent billions of dollars in crude oil reserves with little or no oversight.
While A Crooked Path does not subscribe to or observe the pagan pagentry adopted by the whore of Rome, and the Roman Catholic church which permeates all of Christianity these days in their false teachings, misleading billions along the way, and we do not therefore observe or follow the edicts of the whore of Rome and his church, and such abominations as “Good Friday” or “Ash Wednesday,” or “Lent” and we are aware through knowledge and the instruction and grace of God and His Holy Spirit leading us that “Easter” is nothing more than a thinly veiled pagan fesitval, with none of the aforementioned being Scriptural, or of God, we cannot remain silent nor sit idle as the blasphemy and abomination as mentioned below takes place. The blasphemy of the play being staged in a so-called house of God supercedes the falseness of those worldly pagan institutions observed by the lost and blind sheep following the dark and evil shepherd. And we wanted all those coming to A Crooked Path to be aware of just how deep into the last days we are when a so-called Christian church puts on the production of a play in which Yeshua, Jesus Christ the Lord is portrayed as a homosexual! Please read below. Please comment. Please make others aware.
Thank you, Ken
April 18, 2011
Our Lord will be mocked on Good Friday
by the blasphemous
homosexual play Corpus Christi
Dear____________, I deeply regret to say that on Good Friday, the blasphemous theater play Corpus Christi will show at the First Grace United Church of Christ in Akron, Ohio.
Corpus Christi portrays Our Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles as homosexuals!
To show Our Lord and His apostles as homosexuals, especially on Good Friday, is an abomination that must not go unanswered.
Now it’s time for us to defend Jesus’ honor by peacefully and prayerfully, but loudly raising our voices against this outrageous blasphemy.
Please offer fervent prayers and ardent sacrifices in reparation.
To pray a beautiful reparation prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, go here, and please, right now, before you offer your reparation:
|Until next time, I remain,Sincerely yours,|
Tradition Family Property
P.S. If you think this spiritual crusade is worthy of support, please pass on this message to your list of friends and family.And if you’d like to do more against this terrible blasphemy, please call or send a fax to the contact information below. Thank you!
Please send a peaceful message of protest to:
First Grace United Church of Christ
350 South Portage Path
Akron, OH 44320-2397
Call in protests to (330) 762-8469