The Egyptian daily Shorouk News reports that supporters of former President Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, are desecrating churches and have raised the flag of Al-Qaeda in front of one church on Saturday night. The Clarion Project was provided with a translation of the newspaper report.
Hundreds of Morsi backers protested outside the Mary Girgis (St. George) Church in Girga in Sohag Governorate, furious at Christian support for the overthrow of Morsi. The church attendees locked the doors and stayed inside the building as the Islamist protesters denounced secularism and the Coptic Pope. The crowd then raised the black flag of Al-Qaeda, according to the Egyptian newspaper.
Dozens of Islamists also rioted in a Christian village in Maragha, also located in Sohag Governorate. The police had to step in as property was trespassed on and crosses on some of the homes’ doors and windows were destroyed.
One Morsi supporter is quoted as saying, “We are fighting a war” that secularists and Christians are waging upon Islam. He ridiculed Al-Azhar University, the highest Sunni school of learning, for not standing up for Morsi.
“[I]n the last three weeks or so, we’ve seen Christians targeted, especially a Coptic priest who was killed in northern Sinai. An Egyptian businessman was killed and beheaded in northern Sinai. Churches were also burned, and Christians were driven out of their communities,” said Jerry Dykstra, spokesman for Open Doors USA.
The violence comes as Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi accuses Egyptian Christians of killing innocent Muslims on behalf of the Egyptian military.
“[Defense Minister] Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi and his aides brought soldiers in multitudes – among them soldiers in uniform and soldiers wearing civilian clothing, including bullies, Christians and others. They were recruited in order to kill the defenseless Muslims,” Qaradawi said.
The situation in Egypt is growing more intense by the day. The Egyptian army is threatening that it will force an end to pro-Morsi sit-ins if they do not voluntarily disperse. The interim government has also announced that the trials of senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders for inciting violence will begin on August 25.
Well-known Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie and Khairat el-Shater, the Brotherhood’s original presidential candidate, were two of the defendants specifically named. El-Shater has been detained, but Badie has not been, indicating that his arrest is imminent.
Two former aides to Morsi are also under arrest and will face prosecution for kidnapping and torturing anti-Brotherhood protesters in December.
The showdown between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian military and secularists has only begun.
Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.