Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pray for Egypt

This Sunday morning, Jan. 3oth, one of my pastors as he prayed the prayer for the whole church, prayed for Egypt. It reminded me of part of the Lord’s Prayer, asking for the people’s needs including freedom while at the same time praying that they would not fall into a greater calamity, that they would be delivered from evil. It is the prayer we should all be praying.

Christian Iosso, Coordinator of the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), wrote an essay about the peoples of the Arab world rising against their totalitarian governments. It is of course about much more, but like the title, God’s Spirit—Moving in the Arab world? , Iosso does equate the movement with something God may be doing. He writes:
One doesn’t have to be a so-called Islamist to stand up to an authoritarian regime, and even many in the Muslim Brotherhood see God’s hand in the movements for greater freedom. The protests in Jordan, for example, show the Brotherhood among a range of organizations pushing for a constitutional monarchy.
It has been reported, in fact, that the Muslim Brotherhood has offered to be a part of a coalition government in Egypt. And while God does allow all that happens in our world, he is after all sovereign; the god the Muslim Brotherhood sees in all of this is not our God. The Brotherhood does not see Jesus as God’s revelation of himself. And speaking politically, the freedoms they would eventually propose for the Egyptians would not be the kinds of freedoms that belong to a democracy.

The Muslim Brotherhood was established in Palestine in 1935 by 'Abd al-Rahman al-Banna the brother of the man who founded the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt, Hassan al-Banna. However, the leader of the Brotherhood in Palestine was Haj Amin el-Husseini, known as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. He is known for his ties to Hitler and Nazi Germany.

Professor Jeffrey Herf in his book Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, writes, “A significant historical scholarship has documented the actions and beliefs of the most important public face and voice of Nazi Germany’s Arabic-language propaganda, Haj Amin el-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.” Herf goes on to detail el-Husseini’s connections with Nazi Germany where he eventually lived until the end of the war, helping with Nazi Arabic war propaganda. Herf writes:

The mutual admiration between Husseini and Hitler, based on their shared hatred of the Jews, has long been a matter of public record. Details about his collaboration with Heinrich Himmler and his knowledge about the Holocaust came to light after the war. Husseini was a key figure in finding common ideological ground between National Socialism, on the one hand, and the doctrines of Arab nationalism and militant Islam, on the other.[1]
Hamas is a product of the Muslim Brotherhood, formed from one of its charity branches.[2]

The Brotherhood first founded in Egypt in 1928, is very conservative and insists on Sharia law. Herf lists the program they wished to pursue in Egypt after World War II. Part of that program not only meant gender separation in school but different curriculum for male and female. All of culture from the arts to relationships to women’s make-up would be overseen by a theocracy. This is not freedom, certainly not democracy.[3]

I write all of this to say that it is God, the biblical God, who pulls down and lifts up leaders. He alone is sovereign over our lives. I keep thinking of the verse that admonishes the disciples “you will be hearing of wars and rumors of war. See that you are not frightened, for these things must take place, but that is not yet the end." (Matt 24:6) There is a true Prince of Peace who is coming. There is a righteous kingdom that is here but not yet.

Keep praying for all of the people in the Middle East. Pray that they will have peace and not despair. Pray that wicked people, whether old leaders or potentially new leaders will be moved far away and the Arab people’s world will change. But more importantly pray that they will find the true freedom and love that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

[1] Jeffrey Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, (New Haven: Yale University Press 2009) 8. There is a lengthy foot note after this statement mostly in German. I will not attempt to put it on a blog posting.
[2] See Wikipedia: Muslim Brotherhood
[3]Nazi Propaganda 250

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