These are tumultuous times in Egypt, with massive protests followed by the military ousting the country’s leader. This time it’s Mohammed Morsi; a couple of years ago it was Hosni Mubarak being kicked out. In some respects, it’s a scary sequel for South Florida's Egyptian community.
“The concern that I have is the safety of the people,” said Father Timotheus Soliman, who leads the congregation at Miramar’s St. John the Baptist Egyptian Coptic Church. He pointed out that just last night, Morsi called for the followers of the Muslim Brotherhood to resort to martyrdom as it became obvious the military would remove him from his elected position.
“He is calling for civil war,” Soliman said. “Right now, not only Copts are in danger, but even Muslims, because whosoever is not in agreement with the philosophy of the Muslim Brotherhood is considered an infidel.”
Father Soliman is worried about his family back home in Cairo, and about the future of Egyptian society. He said it’s obvious from the huge protests against Morsi’s tenure that many Egyptians are having second thoughts about the revolution that toppled Mubarak but allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to come to power.
“They are not regretting it, but they were sad that it was stolen from them,” Soliman explained.
“Democracy is not just about being elected through the ballot box, it’s also about allowing the voices of the people to be heard,” said U.S. State Department Spokesperson Jennifer Psaki, referring to widespread criticism that Morsi was guilty of suppressing dissenting voices in Egypt. Father Soliman agrees, and hopes the next government there will represent everyone, including Muslim brotherhood supporters.
“They’re part of the political game, but they need to take their portion, not to take everything,” Soliman said.