World news sources report that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has officially resigned his post. His authority has been handed over to the Supreme Council of the armed forces.
The announcement comes less than 24 hours after the authoritarian leader said on state television that he would not immediately resign. Protesters responded to Mubarak’s initial refusal – and his demands they return home – by again filling Cairo’s Tahrir Square and spilling into other districts. Foreign Policy reports that many denounced the president’s decision while waving their shoes, a sign of disrespect in Arab culture.
Today, hundreds of thousands cheered and waved Egyptian flags in Cairo’s Tahrir Square as Vice President Omar Suleiman announced Mubarak’s resignation. CNN reports that people have even set off fireworks in celebration. The crowds have been protesting and calling for a regime change for 18 days straight, defying government-imposed curfews.
Mohamed el Baradei, an opposition leader, hailed the moment as being the "greatest day of my life," in comments to the Associated Press news agency.
Many Coptic Christians joined Muslims in calling for freedom, though most churches closed out of safety concerns. Christians in Egypt have endured years of treatment as second-class citizens, but believe they may fare worse if the regime changes. Outside of Mubarak’s military party, the Muslim Brotherhood is the best organized and most popular political group, and Christians fear they could bring a strict Islamic government to power.
Dr. Carl Moeller, President/CEO of Open Doors USA, said the situation for Christians could easily get worse. "Given recent polling data, if an election were to be held tomorrow, it's quite likely that Islamic extremists would have a significant -- if not dominant -- role to play in the new government," he told Mission News Network today.
“We need to remember the church. We need to remember that the Christians in Egypt face the ‘frying pan and the fire.' Their hope is in Jesus Christ and in His sovereignty, but the reality for our brothers and sisters in Egypt is that they face an increasingly uncertain future."