Cleric warns of looming catastrophe for Middle Eastern country
A priest who directs the Jesuit Cultural Centre in Alexandria, Egypt, has condemned western support of the Muslim Brotherhood during a visit to the United States.
Fr Henri Boulad, 82, a Melkite Catholic, singled out the United States, France and Britain for their support of the Islamist group, which he said had created a regime far worse than the military dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak that preceded it. He warned of looming catastrophe.
“How democratic countries can support such movements is disgusting,” Fr Boulad told a meeting of the Middle East Discussion Group at a luncheon hosted by Canadian Senator Ann Cools.
The Jesuit described Egypt as unstable and said the government was running out of money to provide basic services. Income from tourism had decreased because of strict restrictions on tourist activity and a dangerous lack of security, he said.
Forces comprised of a wide array of thinkers, journalists, youth, Christians and a large number of Muslims who oppose the aims of the Muslim Brotherhood are rallying to challenge the regime, he said.
“Grassroots people are more and more convinced these people are liars,” Fr Boulad said. Muslim opponents, he explained, “don’t want this kind of Islam”.
“I am speaking up and saying: ‘Don’t be intimidated by these people’,” he said. “Resist in the name of your principles.”
Fr Boulad said the Muslim Brotherhood had a systematic plan to harass Christians so that they would leave Egypt and that among their tactics was the kidnapping and rape of Christian girls.
The organisation also invokes human rights to silence critics in France, Canada and elsewhere, using the courts against people who speak up, he said. The government cries “Islamophobia” and it “is politically incorrect to be an Islamophobe”, he said.
“The United States, France and Great Britain are supporting this. It’s crazy,” he added.“Intellectual and factual terrorism is being implemented not only in Egypt but all over the world. You cannot speak up. They go to court; they accuse you. “As long as Islam is not reformed, we are going to catastrophe,” Fr Boulad said.
Fortunately, he added, some people had the courage to speak up.
He said he hoped that liberal democracies would support the growing coalition opposing the Egyptian ruling party.