Catholic News Service

Posted by Catholic News Service on February 02, 2011 in News Clips

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Religion has had its role to play in the mass rallies in Egypt protesting the oppressive regime of President Hosni Mubarak, according to the head of the Arab American Institute. "To date, you had Muslims guarding the Christian churches. You had Christians surrounding the mosques on Friday (Jan. 28) to keep the police from storming them," said James Zogby, author of "Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us, and Why it Matters." He added: "As folks used to say in the labor movement: 'On the line, allies get made.' I think there is a public coming together of at least some elements. We don't know enough, because America doesn't listen enough and isn't engaged enough in following the public discourse (in Egypt). So we don't know yet who the key players and what the key elements of this movement are going to be." Inspired by a seemingly out-of-nowhere democracy movement in Tunisia early in January, Egyptians took to the streets of Cairo, the capital, en masse beginning late in January to oust the Mubarak government, in power for 29 years. "Clearly there was a spark from Tunisia that set some folks in motion, but the opposition in Egypt has been in place for decades, and has been growing in some ways because of the economic situation, because of the collapse of the (Middle East) peace process, and the sense of the futility of the path of the current government has taken," said Zogby, brother of noted pollster John Zogby.

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