Christians pray during an Coptic Orthodox Easter liturgy at the main cathedral in Cairo May 4. (CNS photo/Asmaa Waguih, Reuters)
Christians pray during an Coptic Orthodox Easter liturgy at the main cathedral in Cairo May 4. (CNS photo/Asmaa Waguih, Reuters)

OTTAWA, Ontario (CNS) — A priest who directs the Jesuit Cultural Center in Alexandria, Egypt, blasted Western support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt during a visit to Parliament Hill.

Jesuit Father Henri Boulad, 82, a Melkite Catholic, singled out the United States, France and Great Britain for their support of the Islamist group, which he said has 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,” Father Boulad told a meeting of the Middle East Discussion Group at a luncheon hosted by Canadian Sen. Ann Cools.

The Jesuit described Egypt as unstable and that the government is running out of money to provide basic services. Income from tourism has 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.

“Grass-roots people are more and more convinced these people are liars,” Father 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.”

Father Boulad charged that the Muslim Brotherhood has a systematic plan to harass Christians so that they will leave Egypt and that among their tactics is the kidnapping and rape of Christian girls.

The organization 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,” Father Boulad warned.

Fortunately, he continued, some people have the courage to speak up. He said he hoped liberal democracies would support the growing coalition opposing the Egyptian ruling party.

By Deborah Gyapong Catholic News Service