Security Solution is No Longer an Option for Copts' Persecution
Last year and this year’s violent incidents in Alexandria proved the failure of the regime and government to bring justice to Egyptian Copts. Hiring an army to protect Copts in Egypt from potential attacks does not solve the issue of equal citizenship and discharging peacefully anti-Coptic sentiments caused by the government’s help to the extremist public and political figures that disseminated hatred among Muslims against Copts over the past few decades. The Egyptian official channels for the last 30 years hosted religious figures on a weekly or daily basis to instill the idea that Copts are the enemies. On Fridays, a popular weekly religious program hosted by a cleric who has no more than a primary education said that we (Muslims) should not shake hands with Copts (probably because they are disbelievers and enemies of Islam).
Yesterday, I was listening to a BBC Arabic program that was hosting Islamic Scholar Mohamed Emara. He said that Copts should stop mentioning Coptic nation or people. On the other hand, Muslims in Egypt do not stop mentioning or talking on behalf of the Islamic nation/world/peoples. His talk was full of racism and hatred. This is the ideology of so many writers who occupy huge spaces on the Egyptian official papers and press and they are propagating anti-Coptic sentiments. The government is allowing them to write hatred with freedom.
Many Egyptians regard Copts as second citizens, a spirit that did not exist before 1952. The closeness or the shadow role of the Muslim Brotherhood with the military regimes until this day helped fuming and augmenting hatred feelings against Copts. The government opened the way for them to occupy the media to marginalize Egyptian Copts as being no partners in the Egyptian society.
The lack of democracy and freedoms in Egypt further led to the marginalization and isolation of Copts. As Islamists won the popular places to speak to the Egyptians with the help of the regime (recently the parliament), their battle became a religious jihady one. Islamists’ first enemy became the non-Muslims in general. Internationally, the enemy is the western civilization, and in Egypt, Copts became the enemy to crush. Regrettably, Copts are easy target in the absence of democracy and freedoms. The centralized dictatorship ruling in Egypt denied Egyptian citizens to enjoy equal rights. The western civilization became the target through organized terrorism operation, a topic I won’t address this post.
The ideology of the 1952 coup d’etats that killed Egypt’s diversity and kicked all Egyptian citizens who were Jewish out of Egypt, denying them their wealth and money, could not get rid of the 10% Copts in Egypt easily. Jewish Egyptians who made their money under Egypt’s free economy system before 1952 were denied their rights and wealth, and some of them went to the airports fleeing to Europe in their bedtime clothes. However with Copts, the ideology used manipulated different forces to make the Copts’ lives in Egypt almost impossible. That explains why so many Egyptian Copts prefer to immigrate and that also explains who so many Copts are active abroad. This is not because they are agents as the regime tries to depict them but because injustice has a reaction. In so many cases, wounds are not easy to be healed.
The Anti-Coptic hatred speeches (in the different media outlets) and religious Friday prayers preaches, together with strict governmental control on culture, art and education, led at the end to full hatred to the Copts. The fact that the government denied Copts any influential posts in the different ministries, police and army made all Egyptians feel that they should remain marginalized because they is the way how they are treated. Over the decades, generation forgot to ask why. The instilled culture became a Coptic citizen has no word in his own country. Muslim activists who are defending Copts’ equal rights are very few and regarded by other Muslims as lunatics, to mention but few Dr. Said El Din Ibrahim, Amin Al Mahdy and Tarek Heggy.
The fact that any Muslim even if he is a door man can turn a room into a corner mosque while denying Christians to build a church except with a presidential decree sent a clear message to all Egyptians that Copts are treated as second class citizens. The government instilled this despicable culture. I want to mention a historical piece of information for those who do not believe that the 1952 regimes instilled an anti-Coptic culture. Egypt was not that centralized before 1952. Wealthy families took care of whole regions in Egypt and not as depicted by the post 1952 superficial movies that they were cruel users. Those families were Copts and Muslims. Many wealthy Coptic families lived in Upper Egypt (South of the country). It was very well known that those families as they built churches, they also built mosques. Same thing for Muslim wealthy families, they built mosques and churches. Worshipping places were not an issue. It was a service that needs to be provided like any other service according to the demand and need without thinking whether it is Christian or Islamic.
The continuous attacks on Copts in the different provinces in Egypt without fair transparent police investigations or fair trials to perpetrators led dormant negative sentiments that are evolving today into bloody violence.
The regime succeeded on turning the Coptic persecution issue into how many churches should be built when it is not a religious rights battle and making people believe it is a battle to defend Islam or Christianity. It is a political issue.
Finally, the solution in my opinion is not further security measures or the renewal of the Emergency Law next May because of the Alexandria violence. The security solution is the option of the totalitarian regimes that want to maintain their ideologies whether Islamization or communism…etc.
For a citizen, regardless of his race, color or religion or no religion, to enjoy a full-fledged citizenship with no persecution or oppression, he or she has to live under a democratic regime and not a rights granting regime whenever it deems so.
God Bless Egypt
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