Last week I blogged about the possible closure of Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt, which Ahmed Ragai Attiya, a retired Egyptian army general has pushed for.
Saint Catherine’s is considered to be the only monastery in the world to serve as both a church and a mosque. It is also famous for being the home of one of Prophet Muhammad’s covenants with Christians in which he guarantees their protection and freedom under his rule.
I recently had an exchange with Dr. John Andrew Morrow, Islam scholar and author of the book The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World (published by Angelico Press, 2013), who has shed more light on this worrisome case.
Dr. Morrow notes that Takfiri terrorists around the world are centering their attention on the covenants of Prophet Muhammad in the Sinai, where Saint Catherine’s is located, as well as Damascus, Palestine, and Mardin in Turkey. One of Morrow’s colleagues has recently attempted to visit the Monastery of Dayr Safaran in Turkey, “which is reported to house an original covenant of the Prophet Muhammad, but that the situation on the ground was insecure due to the presence of Wahhabi terrorists” (Dr. John Andrew Morrow).
Dr. Morrow contends that there is a systematic attempt to destroy the covenants of the Prophet with the Christians of the world. He mentioned in our email exchange that this attempt is part of a wider plot to rid the Middle East of Christians.
Moreover, Dr. Morrow has been in touch with Father Peter (pseudonym) at Saint Catherine’s, who mentioned that retired general Attiya has instigated 71 court cases against the monastery. Father Gregory of Jordan, who is also based at Saint Catherine’s, was recently featured in a two-hour television broadcast with a sheikh from the Jebeliyah Bedouin to make the case for preserving the Monastery.
Father Peter has encouraged us to publicize these attacks as an effective defense against Attiya’s case. According to someone familiar with Father Justin, Attiya is striking deliberately at the weak point of Egyptian society, which is the point of Muslim and Christian relations.
According Al Arabiya reports, Attitya claims that the Monastery was not historic but built in 2006, adding that the area had become a haven for “foreigners.” Attitya has called for deporting Saint Catherine’s Greek monks as he claimed that they jeopardize Egypt’s sovereignty and national security by flying a Greek flag and housing foreigners.
Muslims and Christians must come together and support each other on this common ground to save Prophet Muhammad’s covenants and Saint Catherine’s monastery. As Dr. Morrow said in his email: “Silence is a crime of complicity. Any Muslim scholar who fails to denounce these crimes will be considered a culprit before Allah. And Allah is witness to all things.”
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