The 2nd Exodus from Egypt

The massive protests in Egypt against the Egyptian government have caught the World attention over the last two weeks where even mummies had their heads ripped off when the protestors tried to ransack the museum.  Even the dead are disturbed by the protestors in their "non violent" resolve.

As thousands of people begin their exodus out of Egypt by flight rather than crossing the red sea, there is a call by some Christians to stand in solidarity with the protesters in Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt. Its time for Mubarak to leave and its game over we gleefully announced as we see the army going to a neutral stance and President Mubarak seemingly unable to hold power and his western allies calling for a planned change over of power.

There are those who has call for Mubarak to step down immediately whilst the conservative are ever vary of the possible rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood. The call to step down is very justifiable in light of:-

  • the very harsh actions by the secret police to stamped out any opposition against Mubarak,

  • the favouring of the rich, whilst the poor is suffering and makes up a large percentage of the population and have little to survive even food to eat.

  • Although on paper the spread of wealth or GINI coefficient is better in Egypt than in US, the percentage of people living under poverty in Egypt is 20% versus 12% in the US. According to a documentary, the situation in the street in Egypt may be far worst with few having any meat to eat each week. A world bank figure put it at 40% below the poverty line.

  • The elections were rigged to give Mubarak a massive majority.

  • Amassment of tens of billions of ill gotten wealth by President Mubarak.

 The conservatives fail to see the above injustices perpetrated by Mubarak in the last 30 years, yet other christians also failed to see the context, the reason why Mubarak was being so harsh and cruel was that his main opposition were Islamic forces, and religion being a very powerful force in poor countries. After all, the Brotherhood had assasinated an Egyptian PM in 1948.

There should be a push for a secular state giving space and freedom for all rather than using religion or the army in politics. Democracy is too idealistic and would work if all things are equal. However, when such strong power based construction as the army and religion comes into play, there is no concern for the welfare of the people and minority groups will suffer. Iran is an example where gays and women are very badly treated even though there was a democracy.

The Islamic Brotherhood said it preaches social justice, eradication of poverty and corruption, and political freedom. Yet, there are contradictions:-

  • Calls for segregation of male and female students, and porhibition of dancing,

  • It founded Hamas in 1987 in Gaza which is a militant group

  • Its branch in Sudan believes that "Islam does not permit a non-Muslim to rule over Muslims"

  • A US counter terrorism chief has said that "The Muslim Brotherhood is a group that worries us not because it deals with philosophical or ideological ideas but because it defends the use of violence against civilians."

  • In 1997, it wanted a poll tax on non Christians.

Many hard line secular governments or royal families in the middle east are viewing the situation in Egypt with great concern of possible Muslim Brotherhood uprising in their own countries.

The Guardian report 08 Feb 2011,  "The Muslim Brotherhood uncovered" gives us a ominous warning on how gays will be treated. In an interview with the senior leader, he specifically excluded gay rights. It is said that Islam was the solution.

Whilst we pray for peace and social justice in Egypt, it should never be at the expense of gay people or the promotion of religiously based groups so hostile even to the basic rights of gays. Ultimately however it is the free choice of Egyptians to choose a new army dictator, or a new religious fundementalist leader both whom are equally harmful as we see thousands of gays in Iran being slaughtered there in the name of religion.

What is our Christian response? Perhaps the bible does not give us direct answers for Jesus did not support the uprising by the zealots against the Romans, nor did He sided with the religious fundamentalist, or the Jewish royal family/ rulers in His days. Jesus proclaimed a Kingdom of God where there is love, sharing of belongings/wealth, justice, mercy and grace. Even Judas, was given mercy and grace even though Jesus would have known that he stole from the common fund. 

The Kingdom of God also resides in our hearts, where Jesus is the Lord and Saviour, and we will know what to do intrinsically because the law, or God's directions are now written in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. For GLBT Christians, we cannot but reflect on the impact to the minority Coptic Christians and the GLBT community to any incoming religious fundamentalist groups rather than being caught up in the euphoria of possible democracy and social justice at last. The new Animal Farm may be no different than the old, but even worst.


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