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Friday Prayers for Egypt: Assassination, Funeral

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God,

Egypt witnessed a frightful return, disturbing a relative quiet. The pattern subsided but not that long ago was a viable threat. May it not be a portent of things to come.

A car bomb detonated in an upper class neighborhood, injuring one bystander but missing the deputy prosecutor-general. Fifteen months ago, his positional superior was assassinated by similar means.

God, thank you for the escape. But the signs that such men continue to nurse their grudges through violence is a disturbing development. After a year of many targeted killings, Egypt outside of Sinai has successfully enforced an extended period of calm.

May the culprits be caught, God. May those behind them be exposed and disabled. May any legitimate grievances find peaceful solution, and may justice be extended to all.

For grievances are also finding expression in the funeral of former Israeli president Shimon Peres. Egypt’s foreign minister will attend as a representative of the state. But others are critical of paying homage to a man they deemed oppressive of Palestinians.

God, give both peace and justice to the peoples of this world. In Egypt in particular, help leaders and citizens alike to find the proper balance. It is right to honor the dead. It is right to review a legacy.

May truth prevail among hearts unhardened to humbly receive and boldly respond. May they rightly impact others too possessed by the pain of past grudges, justly held or otherwise.

May the victims of all conflicts rest in peace. May the living rest the same. Heal Egypt and the region, and save her from further harm.

Amen.

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Prayers

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Attempted Assassination, Syria

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God,

Trouble is brewing in the region. While Syria grabs the headlines due to the threat of an American strike, the impasse in Egypt has ratcheted up as well. She has experienced her first clear attempt at assassination since the revolution, directed at the minister of the interior, who heads the police.

Islamist groups have denied any involvement, condemning the act while redirecting blame to the security apparatus itself. Miraculously, only one bystander was killed, while several were injured along with others in the minister’s motorcade.

Nonsense, God. No matter the culprit this event turns a page in Egypt’s transition. The nation has been surprisingly free of targeted killings, given all that was at stake. Draw her back, God. May the perpetrators be found quickly and transparently.

But what can be said compared to the violence in Syria? Amid countless victims in a civil war doubling as a regional proxy battleground, scores more are added to the ledger via chemical attack. Meanwhile, the world cannot even agree on who did it.

But some are certain and ready to punish. Among them, God, some have deliberated and stayed their hand. Give wisdom to the elected representatives of the citizens of the United States of America, to decide the necessity of bombing Syria.

There is a world order, God, but few means of righteous enforcement. Plus, the order is rife with examples of manipulation that put the question to foreign interventions for justice or human rights.

God, will an American strike prevent or provoke more violence? Syria has suffered enough, and if America moves, by definition she will suffer more. Yet whatever the decision, be merciful to the Syrian people. However little faith they still hold in humanity, do not betray their faith in you. Save and rescue them from their oppressors, foreign and domestic.

It has been too long, God. Do you want an outsider to jolt this struggle to conclusion? God, if America intervenes, may it only be for good intention, even if she only paves the road to further hell. Hold her accountable otherwise; hold her accountable still.

But bring peace and justice from somewhere, God. First and last, may it be from the Syrians. Bless them, but ugh, how hollow these words. Bless them, and lift this curse.

And bless Egypt. Keep her from descending into a deeper pit. Save both nations from assassination.

Amen.

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Prayers

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Assassination

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God,

The gunshot rang out from Tunisia, but its reverberations are felt here too. There, an outspoken opponent of Islamists was killed outside his home; here, a sheikh pronounced legality on the same for Egypt’s opposition, calling them out by name.

Egyptian Islamist politicians immediately condemned the killing, even those whose organizations committed assassinations in the past. Many called to prosecute the sheikh, and the president spoke firmly against any political violence. But is all well?

No. On the small scale, younger activists have been killed in and around the various protests at Tahrir and the presidential palace. While clashes have been ongoing, their mourning friends give evidence they were targeted. Some blame the Islamists, but here all firm evidence is lacking.

God, the prayer is obvious, keep all safe. But assassination casts a long shadow. Strengthen and encourage those of like mind to the deceased, that they may not shirk back in fear. Challenge those who promote a culture of domination to the exclusion of others. May the political system continue along in development.

For those who target, God, bring justice. For those who condemn, rightly, may they do more. Help them to not just to disassociate with such vile acts, but assist in exposing this ugly underbelly.

But God, the cynic notes a winner does not profit from assassination. The right words may be spoken, the right deeds offered, but is the heart still hard? Only you can know, so forgive the cynic. Among the opposition, soften their hearts to receive condolences. Help them to embrace all that is right rather than wallowing in the mire of bitter frustration.

And certainly, keep any of their sympathizers from equal reaction and retaliation.

God, it is a sad development for the region. Reverse it. Have Egyptians build up and not destroy; give life, rather than kill. Resurrect what is dying; revive what is stagnating.

May Egypt come alive with hope and expectation. So much works against this, God, but strengthen her soul. May conscience triumph over interest, and may all soon be well.

Amen.