Egypt timeline set for political reform
CAIRO (BP) -- Egyptian leaders are rushing to find solutions to the country's problems as protests and bloodshed persist in the wake of former President Mohamed Morsi's removal from power.
Acting President Adly Mansour is "seeking to pull together secular and Islamist factions in the temporary government -- a very difficult task," said Mike Edens, professor of theology and Islamic studies at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and former Cairo resident for 18 years.
Morsi was removed from power by the military July 3, one year after becoming president.
"The task of developing a broad-based transitional government was dealt a serious blow when the Salifi (strong Islamist) El Noor party said they could not support Mohamed ElBaradei as prime minister," Edens said. Another man, Hazem el-Beblawi, eventually was named prime minister, with ElBaradei becoming vice president.
El Noor "is the only Islamist partner in the parties agreeing with the military removal of President Morsi," Edens said.
Samuel Tadros, Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom research fellow, said the military was strategic to win the support of the Salifis because the Muslim Brotherhood -- of which Morsi was a member -- now cannot claim Morsi's removal from office to be a war against Islam. But keeping the Salifis' support also requires submitting to their demands, including the suspension of the current constitution.
Mansour, the acting president, provided a schedule Monday (July 8) for upcoming political changes, the International Business Times reported. The timetable included an amended constitution and a tentative schedule for parliamentary and presidential elections in 2014.
Another obstacle Tadros noted was a heightened wariness of additional Muslim unrest due to Ramadan, an Islamic religious holiday that began Tuesday (July 9) and continues until August 7.
The celebrations could provide the Muslim Brotherhood with what Tadros called "a golden opportunity" to garner support from fellow Muslims –- particularly considering that the Muslim Brotherhood declared Thursday (July 11) that they would reinstate Morsi as president, the Associated Press reported.
"Muslims will all be going to the mosques for the prayers," Tadros said. "It's a chance for them [the Muslim Brotherhood] to be able to regain some support in those mosques and in the streets. As a result, the army is trying to end this crisis as soon as possible."
Tadros added, "The hope for stability in Egypt all depends on all political factions realizing the country is too large for any single one of them ruling the country, and they all have to come together and compromise."
The possible resurgence of the Muslim Brotherhood is but one reason to end the turmoil, as Tadros said the unrest also halts aid from foreign investors that would be willing to help Egypt develop economically.
Several countries already have offered provisions, the Associated Press reported. Saudi Arabia and the United Arad Emirates promised Tuesday (July 9) that they would provide $8 billion in grants, loans and fossil fuels. Kuwait offered $4 billion in aid as well.
Edens asked for Christians to pray that Egypt would become a country where all can live together and live out their faith freely. "We need to remember that it took 12 years for the colonies which became the United States to develop and ratify our constitution," he said. "This is a messy and difficult process."
Beth Byrd is a staff writer at Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).