Makari just got famous

While it is illegal to do so, there are evangelical forces operating in Egypt to convert Muslims to Christianity. The two very famous ones are the Protestant Qasr El Dobara church in downtown Egypt, and the Coptic St. Mark Church in Shobra. Qasr El Dobara does good old evanagelism through usually really good sermons, and if you ever go there, you would find that the first 3 rows usually have Hijabis in them. It is rumored that Muslim Evangelist Superstar Amr Khaled actually spent 2 years attending the Qasr ElDobara services in order to learn the ins and outs of evangelistic speeching. One of m christian friends once told me that when he first heard Amr Khaled he thought it was one of Qasr El Dobara's tapes. But that's not our Story. Our Story has to do with St. Mark's church.

You see, St. Mark, on the other hand, doesn't really count on sermons: they convert through exorcisms. Yep, that's right. Exorcisms. I once saw a video of one of his conversions (By the way, there is a whole underground thing with movies and plays in the egyptian coptic community. Forbidden plays, testimonials of the recently converted, and tons of other stuff. And they usually don't share them. Hmmph.. Copts are no fun!) where he did the exorcism on a muslim boy, and then told him to do the mark on the Cross on his chest, and when the boy refused, Makari told him that he should do it, because it was Jesus who kicked the demon out, and then left the boy's side, who eventually, and kind of defeatedly, ended up doing the mark of the cross to joyous applause from the congregation. And stuff like this supposedly happens, like, every week.

And now AFP did a story on him:

Every Friday, thousands of Christians and a handful of curious Muslims pour into Cairo's St Mark's Coptic church to hear Father Makari Yunan preach, drawn by his power to exorcise demons.

Vigorously splashing holy water from a gardening can, the white-bearded
Makari has been healing the sick and casting out demons for 32 years.
People come from all over Egypt and even from as far afield as the United States.

Throughout the three-hour service, shouts and screams can be heard from the affected, writhing amid the pews.

Some of the people eventually faint, collapsing to the floor.
Unconscious, they are picked up by attendants to be unceremoniously
dumped near the altar pending their exorcism.

[...]

Makari says some Egyptian newspapers and television stations have taken
him to task over the presence of Muslims in his congregation.

"I don't heal people, Jesus does. For me there is no difference between
Muslims and Christians. Everything is done in the name of Jesus.

"People know I do this for Jesus. I don't ask for anything in exchange.
I perform a service and it doesn't matter if people accept it or not.

"It's normal that Muslims and Christians come to the church," says
Muslim teenager Nur. "Muslims come to be healed by the priest. He's
really very kind, he heals us when we need it."

Needless to say that writing this story puts that church under the spotlight, which is something I am not sure Makari or his congregation wants. And if this article gets translated into arabic, some newspapers in Egypt would have a field day stoking sectarian fire and talking about the Evil Coptic Priest who tricks simpleminded muslims.

Hmm.. 

Comments

  1. anonymous says:

    I know for a fact that hijabis do not occupy the first 3 rows of qasr el dobara or any row for that matter. That’s a very dangerous claim to make, considering that they put armed guard outside qasr el dobara church because there is the constant fear that someone is going to walk in and slay the congregation. Making false statements like that puts a lot of people’s lives at risk.

  2. “…talking about the Evil Coptic Priest who tricks simpleminded muslims.”

    How are they tricked? Are they deprived of money? Or does the Priest offer some sort of relief from torment?

    If he can improve the human condition and not stir up problems in the community, isn’t this a good thing?

  3. I heard that in Turkey, some imams will send members of their congregation who are really sick to the Christians so that they can be prayed for(!)

  4. EgyPeter says:

    And the problem is???

    Um, what these two churches are doing is a DROP OF WATER in the bucket compared to the CONSTANT proselytizing of Islam in Egypt. I hope you’re not comparing the two.

    The blatant double standard in Egypt makes me wanna vomit.

    For some fucking reason no one blinks when a Christian converts to Islam. But when a Muslim converts to Christianity the entire country gets their panties in a bunch!!!

    It’s a joke. Egypt is a joke.

  5. A Correction
    Father Makary Younan does not preach in St. Mark’s Church in Shubra. He preaches in St Mark’s Church in Azbakiya which used to be the old Cathedral.

  6. anonymous says:

    So what! 10 years ago this article would have find its way into the press in a rubric called curiosity. at that time (and up to now) muslims were seeking ‘psychological’ help from christian priests, when sheikhs in the neighbourhood failed. Vice versa christians were seeking help from islamic sheikhs. superstition is part of egyptian culture. in the west you have shrinks, in egypt you have exorcism or zar.
    sad that now it becomes a dangerous political theme. as a balance have an article about forced conversion to islam of young christian girls in upper egypt.
    i don’t mind simple minded people, but i do mind the intelligent manipulative powers behind them all.

  7. Well, i don’t think the problem lays in conversions between coptic christianity and islam, (and vica versa), but rather in the introduction of protestant and (shiver) evengelical churches to Egypt. Seeing how many problems evengelicals have caused in the US recently, i’d much rather not see this wave spread to egypt

  8. I have attended Qasr El Dobarah and was a member of a famous Choir team. Not one time I have seen hijabis in the front rows. When did this start to happen?. I thought Qasr El Dobarah is not evengelical???? I thought it is like the heliopolis church Anglican. Plus from what I know that exorcisms has been taken place in many churchs especially the famous Moqatam church. There are many on youtube you can watch them.

    Some muslims will go to priests to help them with some vodoo business done to them, I know personally three muslim ladies who wears veil that will go to the popular church in Zeitoun St. Mary hoping for miracles, non of them converted to Christianity.

    I have to tell Egypeter though that a lot of Copts overdo the celebration of muslim converts which actually is not very good as it subject the convert to danger.

    I have a feeling that Sandmonkey is misinformed about Qasr El Dobarah. I still have friends who attend there and will ask about this.

    I have my suspicion though that Amr Khaled might have attended there, first time I heard him I knew the style :)

  9. I agree, it should be kept private – on both sides. After all, it is a personal matter, isn’t it?

    And “celebrating” is different than offering State Protection.

    There is a terrible bias in Egypt.

  10. that is funny

  11. The wave of evangelism definitely seems to be spreading. There seems to be more and more of the amr khalid types and then there is these satellite channels broadcasting televangelism translated into arabic (quite hilarious) 24 hours a day. There seems to be a lot of money being spent (ooh conspiracy) to bring the worst of american neocon culture into our homes. I dont know whats going or why but it really scares me to think that when bush said that “liberating iraq” will change the region, he really meant that we will now have access to jerry falwell and Dr. Phil.

  12. Marianne says:

    Well well well,
    Come on…
    Are Christians that dangerous in Egypt????
    Christians never ask Moslems to come to their churches, they never preach against Moslems, and if a priest practices exorcism, it is always asked by the person who wants it.
    Concerning Kasr Al Dobara and Father Makari, they do not invite anyone either.
    As for Rick, never be afraid of evangelicals, we are not the United States, we don’t have this freedom of preaching, nor this freedom of belief… I think dear Rick, you know that until now Christians cannot build churches except by a presidential decree! More than that they can’t even fix a bathroom in a Church without another one!!!!!
    All Egyptians know that, so for preaching we cannot, we do not have any national Christian channel representing Christians who are Egyptians like Moslems. A converted Christian is written “Ex-Moslem” in his papers!!!! Do you think that Evangelicals are to be considered hazardous in this kind of atmosphere???? Did you ever heard that Christians in Egypt or the so called “missionaries” provoked any kind of problems against Moslems or used violence???
    Two days ago everybody is speaking about Magdi Allam who converted, so what??? Lots of Christians are converting to Islam and no body make a fuss about it.
    Dear AF, what about channels like Ekraa, salafi channels and all those channels coming from Saudi Arabia?????????? And why every time we speak about something happening in Egypt, suddenly Iraq, Bush, Palestine and Bad Israelis come up to the subject????!!!!
    Now I am raising a question: did you ever hear that a Moslem converted to Christianity took money from church? Well a Christian who converts to Islam is paid by the Azhar.
    I wish to tell you something, please try to go to any church in Egypt, and ask the priest there to get baptized and converted, they will never accept… it is a challenge… people who want to convert into Christianity must prove that they are convinced, that they came to Christianity without being in love with a Christian or for any reason, they must prove that they came to Christianity out of conviction. In the other hand, you can convert to Islam in seconds.

  13. Sandy

    Small technical point.

    We do not call it ‘the mark of the Cross’. We call it ‘the sign of the Cross’.

    You are still the best blogger in Egypt.

  14. Being neither a Christian nor a Muslim myself, I’m not entirely familiar with the details, but… Don’t Muslims consider Jesus a prophet as well? And if so, why would it be a problem if he drives out demons from Muslims?

  15. Shalom: the answr to your question; Egyptian and the rest of the Arab and Muslim world treat religion like soccer club fans. Us verus THEM. It doesn’t matter how bad muslims or chrisians we are, just that our team win and the other loose. We don’t look at it as God versus Evil match. Unfortunatey..!!

  16. Amr Khalid in an Evangelical church??? LOL. I believe it. He sounds just like them. I call him the Evangelical moslem. Plus, all that superstition of exorcism and shit. Pleeease. I can’t believe that stuff is still going on among educated people. You guys are right though. Egyptians are superstitious to a fault. Historically, Ancient Egyptians were that superstitious too.

  17. baby u r late in this
    i already watched a report about churches in egypt doing Exorcism and there were muslim women thre in Al Arabeya 3 yrs ago

    it’s normal in Egypt some christians go to Imams to kick demons from thre boddies

    After that they go to psychiatry hospital whre thy actually belong

    About Amr Khaled
    I knewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww Itttttttttt

    but I’m going to this church:D

  18. This guy sounds like an Egyptian Benny Hinn. Good luck with that! Televangelist charlatans are the bane of serious, thoughtful Christianity in the West and it sounds like the sickness is spreading.

  19. Rick,

    but rather in the introduction of protestant and (shiver) evengelical churches to Egypt.

    Protestants are evangelicals. Evangelicals are Protestants. Why use tow different terms for the same thing, and treat them differently?

    Twosret,

    I thought Qasr El Dobarah is not evengelical???? I thought it is like the heliopolis church Anglican.

    Anlicans are Evangelical. If somebody told you otherwise, they were lying. But I think it’s more likely that you just didn’t know the facts, like Rick. I’m really starting to get angry with people who use the word “Evangelical” as an insult to Protestants. ALL PROTESTANTS ARE EVANGELICAL. ALL CHRISTIANS DO MISSIONARY WORK. Jesus called upon his followers to spread the word. If you are a Christian and oppose evangelism, you are opposing the teaching of Christ.

  20. Marianne says:

    Anglicans are nor evangelicals
    Evangelical church is the church who follows only the Bible, and it is a protestant church. The protestant church includes so many churches, among which presbyterian, brothers etc…
    The Anglican church is the church established by Henry VIII, and it emerged from the Catholic church. This church follows the Church of England, and we only have two of them in Egypt, one in Korba (Setti street) and the Other one is All Saint Cathedral in Zamalek. Henry established this church as he used to kills his wives in order to marry again, then he established this one to be able to get the divorce. Capito?
    So Evangelical is not Anglican!

  21. Marianne: Anglicans are nor evangelicals

    I don’t agree. What are you using for the definition of “evangelical”?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelical

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelicalism

    Evangelical may refer to:

    * Evangelicalism, Christian theological view emphasizing personal faith that one’s sins are atoned for solely by the propitiation of Jesus of Nazareth’s death and resurrection, and the authority of the Bible as wholly true.
    * Evangelism, Christian efforts to pass on their faith to others.
    * Protestantism, one of three major branches of Christianity
    * Gospels, accounts of the life of Jesus of Nazareth
    * Evangelical Synod of North America, a former Reformed denomination known as the Evangelicals, or the Evangelical and Reformed Church, its successor

    =====

    Catholic Evangelism

    The Roman Catholic Church has a long history of evangelical and missionary work. Today, Catholics have responded to Pope John Paul II’s call urging the laity to become more active in the Church’s primary mission of evangelization.

    The tendency to confuse the word “Evangelical” with the word “Fundamentalist” is incorrect. And it’s insulting. Christianity is Evangelical by it’s very nature.

    Marianne: Evangelical church is the church who follows only the Bible, and it is a protestant church.

    I’ve never heard of a denomination called “Evangelical” so when you apply that word to a certain Church it confuses me greatly. As far as “following only the Bible” – that applies to ALL Protestant denominations, including Anglicans. sola scriptura is the heart and soul of Protestantism. Protestants recognize no doctrinal authority outside of the Bible.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sola_scriptura

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_Reformation

    Sola scriptura (Latin ablative, “by scripture alone”) is the assertion that the Bible as God’s written word is self-authenticating, clear (perspicuous) to the rational reader, its own interpreter (“Scripture interprets Scripture”), and sufficient of itself to be the final authority of Christian doctrine.

    Sola scriptura was a foundational doctrinal principle of the Protestant Reformation held by the reformer Martin Luther and is a definitive principle of Protestants today (see Five solas)

    However, Anglicans are amongst the worst when it comes to ignoring scripture in favor of political correctness, so I don’t think it’s fair to say Anglicans follow only the Bible. Anglicans are very political.

    Marianne: The protestant church includes so many churches, among which presbyterian, brothers etc…

    I don’t know what “brothers” are, but yes… there are thousands of Protestant denominations. Sometimes they consist of a single Church and a single pastor. But there aren’t more than about a dozen major Protestant denominations.

    The Anglican church is the church established by Henry VIII, and it emerged from the Catholic church.

    The same is true for all Protestant denominations. The reformation began as a “protest” against corruption and abuse of power in the Catholic Church.

    This church follows the Church of England, and we only have two of them in Egypt, one in Korba (Setti street) and the Other one is All Saint Cathedral in Zamalek.

    I’m actually surprised there are any in Egypt. How did they get there, and why, if you feel Anglicans don’t do missionary work? (I happen to know for a fact that they do, seeing as how I have family members who have been missionaries)

    Henry established this church as he used to kills his wives in order to marry again, then he established this one to be able to get the divorce.

    It’s nowhere near that simple. 1534 is when England broke from the Catholic Church, but the English (amongst other nations in Europe at the time) had grievous problems with the Catholic Church that predated that by quite a bit. The Protestant Reformation began in Germany in 1517. Almost two decades earlier.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_Reformation

    Capito? So Evangelical is not Anglican!

    Yes it is :P

  22. More info:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant

    While the faiths and churches born directly or indirectly of the Protestant Reformation constitute Protestantism, in common usage, the term is often used in contradistinction to Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.[3] This usage is imprecise. There are many non-Roman Catholic, non-Eastern Orthodox communions that long predate the Reformation (notably Oriental Orthodoxy). The Anglican Church, although born of the Protestant reformation, differs from the reformation principles of most other Protestants and is referred to as a middle path—a via media—between Roman Catholic and Protestant doctrines.

    The churches most commonly associated with Protestantism can be divided along four fairly definitive lines:

    1. Mainline Protestants—a North American phrase—are those who trace their lineage to Luther, Calvin, or Anglicanism. These groups observe the doctrines of the Reformation. They include such denominations as Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Methodists.

    2. Anabaptists are part of a movement that developed from the Radical Reformation. Today, denominations such as Baptists,[4] Pentecostals, Adventists, Brethren, Mennonites and Amish eschew infant baptism and see baptism as aligned with a demonstration of the gifts of the spirit.

    3. Restorationists are a more recent movement beginning with the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement. Restorationists may not consider themselves Protestants. Nevertheless, they do not recognize papal authority, and so they are most commonly deemed Protestants by those who include them among Christian denominations.

    4. Nontrinitarian movements reject the doctrine of the trinity. Today, they include such denominations as the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and some Quakers.

    (Note that most Protestants would not consider group 3 and 4 to be Christian at all, though they often do consider themselves so)

    I guess by “brothers” you meant the Brethren, up there in group 2?

    OK too much info, even for me! Sorry.

  23. No it is not… I think that there is a confusion about the name, but the Anglican church is not the Evangelical church… they are different in rites…
    I am not speaking about the roots of the word, I am speaking about the two ideologies, and about two churches…
    and please stop speaking about things you are not involved in!

  24. By the way, if you tell an Anglican by mistake that he is evangelical he will feel hurt!!! and he will be very offended as he will explain you the difference.

  25. The main and crucial difference is that the Anglican church has a man (Archbishop) as its head whereas the evangelical church has God as its head.

  26. brooklynjon says:

    I personally never knew precisely what “Evangelical” meant. Then again, growing up in Brooklyn, I used to think that all Christians were Catholic.

    If I have ever offended anyone with misuse of the term, please accept my apologies.

  27. “Then again, growing up in Brooklyn, I used to think that all Christians were Catholic.”

    Oy vey, a crime punishable by burning at the stake!

  28. Marianne,

    No it is not… I think that there is a confusion about the name, but the Anglican church is not the Evangelical church… they are different in rites…

    But that was part of my point. There is no Protestant denomination called “Evangelical” that I’ve ever heard of.

    I am not speaking about the roots of the word, I am speaking about the two ideologies, and about two churches…

    So you are using the word in the way that I am objecting to!

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evangelical

    If you look at that definition, it isn’t until the fourth one that you find it being used as a synonym for fundamentalism. It isn’t until the 5th one that they describe the word as “marked by militant or crusading zeal”. I object to both of those definitions, because in their usage they have become pretty offensive towards Protestants. In the US media I never hear the word “Evangelist” used in a positive manner.

    and please stop speaking about things you are not involved in!

    By the way, if you tell an Anglican by mistake that he is evangelical he will feel hurt!!! and he will be very offended as he will explain you the difference.

    I grew up Anglican, and technically I suppose I still am, since I never formally changed to another Church. I agree calling an Anglican and Evangelist will hurt their feelings. That is because of the negative connotations that the word has picked up the last several decades, not because the word is inaccurate.

    Anna,

    The main and crucial difference is that the Anglican church has a man (Archbishop) as its head whereas the evangelical church has God as its head.

    That is very true. The Church of England is the only Protestant denomination I know of that has a well defined hierarchy in it’s clergy, and a central authority. They copied much of that from the Catholic Church. That makes Anglicans quite unusual. Disposing of the Catholic Church’s central authority was one of the main goals of the Protestant Reformation.

  29. Marianne says:

    Evangelicalism is a theological perspective in Protestant Christianity which identifies with the gospel. Historically, and in many parts of the world outside North America, it refers to the distinction between the Roman Catholic Church and movements following the tradition of the Protestant Reformation (referred to by Martin Luther as the evangelische kirche or evangelical church).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelicalism

  30. brooklynjon says:

    Craig,

    I’m still not buyin’ what you’re sellin’ ;-)

    From Merriam Webster:

    Main Entry: effect
    Function: transitive verb
    Date: 1533
    1: to cause to come into being

    The more common “affect” denotes having an effect or influence . The verb “effect” goes beyond mere influence; it refers to actual achievement of a final result

    Me speaking:

    As a verb, “effect” means to cause. As a noun, “effect” is the result of that cause. It’s meaning as a verb is really quite different from it’s meaning as a noun. The interesting question for me is why, linguistico-historically speaking, this is so.

    It’s kinda like how “prove”, which now means “to demonstrate something to be true”, used to mean “to test something” (as in “proving ground” and “the exception proves the rule”, which retain its original and now mostly archaic meaning.

  31. CarpetCaptain says:

    So should we have pool on how long its going to take before the next attack happens on SHobra and or Azbekiya churches? I am sure some raghead is going to translate the article to his sheikh who will not be able to help himself from touching on it in the friday sermon. This i’m sure will be followed by a few thousand sexually frustrated muslim young man attacking the church then a clash with the police where a few will get he expedited road to the 72 virgins; whom i am sure will regain their virginity before these studmuffins are done nailing all 72 in 24 hours. lololol

    I’m putting my money on friday the5th. I wonder what the vegas line would be for that….

  32. @ 33
    It is interesting that only after your explanation I finally understand that expression. :) English as a second language even after 12 years speaking it every day. Thanks John.

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