THE 2011 REVOLUTIONthat led to the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak signaled hope and liberation for the people of Egypt. But many Egyptians and others fear that President Mohamed Morsi, in his actions to consolidate power and quell opposition, has become “Mubarak with a beard.”
Sen. Ehab El Kharrat, a psychiatrist and Christian member of the Shura Council, Egypt’s upper house of Parliament, still looks to his country’s future with hope. Kharrat talked with Mary Theresa Webb early this year while the senator was in Washington, D.C., for the National Prayer Breakfast. Webb is the founder of the GOAL Project, a U.S.-based organization that provides addiction recovery training for churches and communities around the world, including Egypt.--The Editors
Mary Theresa Webb: You are one of three Christians elected to the Egyptian Parliament. Could you describe why you decided to run for office? How does your Christian faith influence your work?
Ehab El Kharrat: I was elected by both Muslims and Christians to serve the whole people. I stand for love and freedom, and I think these are the things my savior and Lord Jesus stood for. My political involvement is not about the rights of the Christian minority in Egypt, but about the rights and dignity of all.
We on the Shura Council have received threats from violent groups, Muslim extremists, and the secularist terrorist group called the Black Bloc, who wear black masks and defend secular protesters with violence. I once stood up in a human rights session and said that I may be threatened and killed, but I will not accept the Black Bloc members’ violence and pledged all to refrain from such violence. If I die, I die. But I want to keep our revolution peaceful.
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On Sunday (10/30), the Anglican Bishop of London, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Richard Chartres, met with Occupy London protesters who have encamped for several weeks now on the ground of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, in an ongoing attempt to get the demonstrators to leave church grounds.
Chartres wants the Occupiers to vacate cathedral property and stopped short, in an interview with the BBC yesterday, of saying he would oppose their forcible removal. Other British clergy, however, are rallying behind the demonstrators, saying they would physically (and spiritually) surround protesters at St. Paul's with a circle of prayer or "circle of protection."
The clean up of Zucotti Park -- announced by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday -- by city workers has been scrapped as of early Friday a.m.
The announcement came shortly after 6 a.m. EST, less than an hour before city workers were scheduled to enter the park near Wall Street where thousands of demonstrators have been camped out for nearly a month.