EGYPT BEGINS VOTING: WILL THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD GAIN CONTROL? WILL CHRISTIANS FACE MORE PERSECUTION?

>>DEVELOPING: Former Mossad chief: Israeli attack on Iran must be stopped to avert catastrophe — Meir Dagan speaks out against military offensive on Iran, expresses concern that Defense Minister Barak believes Israel only has less than a year to carry out an attack.

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UPDATE ON EGYPTIAN ELECTIONS (Dec 6): The Islamist bloc won more than 60% of the vote in last week’s round of parliamentary elections. The Muslim Brotherhood’s “Freedom and Justice Party” won 36.6%, while the newer radical Salafist party known as Al-Nour won 24.4%. There are differences in the ideologies of these parties, but the trend line is becoming clear: the hardline Islamic fundamentalists are gaining power and the pro-democracy moderates are being trounced. Make no mistake: this is a dangerous development for the U.S. and Israel. In February, the Muslim Brotherhood reiterated its intent to end Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel that has been in force since 1979.

ORIGINAL POST: Please pray for the nation of Egypt at this critical juncture. The battle between the Radicals, the Reformers and the Revivalists is intensifying. Voting is underway in the first of several rounds of parliamentary elections. Egypt’s Christian long-persecuted and oppressed minority fears the Muslim Brotherhood will dominate the elections, move the country in a Radical Islamic direction, and make life even more difficult for all non-Muslims. That appears likely, though it is too soon to draw any firm conclusions quite yet. Roughly ten percent of Egypt’s 76 million people are known as Coptic or Orthodox Christians. Many of these are nominal Christians, but there is a spiritual awakening happening within the Church and a growing number of Copts are born again believers. A steadily growing number of Muslims are also turning to faith in Jesus Christ in Egypt today, though not nearly as fast as in Sudan or Iran. The Joshua Fund this year has invested in several projects to train and encourage Egyptian pastors and lay people and encourage them to share the Gospel and plant new congregations. Please pray that such work bears fruit and that more and more Egyptians find true hope, freedom and eternal security through faith in Jesus Christ and the Bible.

“Unofficial initial results from the first two days of Egypt’s parliamentary elections pointed to a dominant showing for Islamist candidates, fulfilling most analysts’ expectations that conservative religious politicians could have the upper hand in next year’s drafting of a new Egyptian constitution,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Initial tallies put the powerful Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, or FJP, in a leading position, followed by the Nour Party, which represents the ultraconservative Salafi school of Islam, FJP said. An FJP official said the party’s vote-counting observers expect the group to win as much as 50% of the vote. A Nour Party spokesman said the early returns point to a Salafi capture of about 10% to 15% of seats in the incoming Parliament….The results are far from final—a second and third round of elections covering two-thirds of Egypt’s 27 governorates are scheduled to take place in December and January. Individual candidate races that didn’t secure at least 51% will face runoffs beginning next week. But the early results indicate that Egypt—the largest Arab country and under former President Hosni Mubarak one of the region’s staunchest defenders of secular governance—is set to pivot toward political Islam. The next voting rounds include mostly smaller Egyptian cities and villages, where Islamist rule is popular.”

The Associated Press is reporting that “following an unexpectedly large turnout, Egypt’s election commission announced Thursday a delay in final results for the first-round of parliamentary elections while judges monitoring the count said Islamist parties are poised to gain a parliamentary majority.” The AP also notes that “the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest and best organized group, could take as much as 45% of the seats being contested. The Egyptian bloc coalition of liberal parties and the ultra-fundamentalist Nour party were competing for second place, the judges said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the count remains incomplete.”

At least one Israeli media outlet isn’t hedging its analysis. Israeli Channel 7 news posted this headline on its website: “Muslim Brotherhood Takes Elections by Storm –Islamist parties are expected to control Cairo’s parliament by the spring with the Muslim Brotherhood projected to be in the driver’s seat.”The report noted that “continued success by Islamists will allow them to give Cairo’s government and constitution a decidedly Islamist character. It could also lead Cairo to shift away from the West towards the Iranian axis….The Muslim Brotherhood, which birthed the virulently anti-Israel Hamas terror militia, might also seek to effectively annex Gaza. Should Hamas be triumphant in future PA elections, they would also gain a foothold in Judea and Samaria.”

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